On Thursday, ESPN debuted its HERoics series which will consist of six short documentary films centered around ESPN’s coverage of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Sahlen’s Stadium – home of the Western New York Flash – played host to the debut the first documentary about Marta, forward for the Flash and Brazil.
The film, titled “Dos Riachos to Umeå,” begins by showing a sign located in Dos Riachos, Brazil – Marta’s hometown – that read in Portuguese, “The Best in the World Was Born Here.” The documentary features interviews with former players and managers from Brazil, Umeå and several members of Marta’s family. Much like ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentaries, the piece features in-depth reporting with great story telling, superior camera work and great interviews.
Marta’s mother provides some great interviews throughout the piece, including when she talks about finding out that Marta would skip school for days at a time to play soccer. Toward the end of the documentary, Marta’s mother, Tereza Vieira da Silva, talks about being scared when Marta signed with Umeå IK and moved to Sweden at just age 17. When her mother asked her what happens if she got hurt or died while away, Marta responded, “bury me with a soccer ball and I’ll be happy.”
I’ll leave you wondering about the full documentary. All six documentaries will premier on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. on June 25, one day before the Women’s World Cup kicks off. The series will air again on Saturday, July 2 at 4 p.m. on ABC. Thursday’s premier only featured the Marta documentary, but the Brazilian and her Flash teammates – along with a few fans – enjoyed screening the premier on the video board at Sahlen’s Stadium. Check out the post-screening interview with Marta here (sorry for the wind – it is Rochester, after all):
Here is the full list of stories that ESPN will run:
Dos Riachos to Umeå (Director: Adriana Yanez) – The story of Marta’s rise to stardom.
El Chiquitín Fútbol Club (Sara Lozano) – An 85-year-old and her senior citizen teammates still love playing soccer.
Kelly Smith (Hannah Storm) – Another look at how Kelly Smith overcame alcoholism to become one of the world’s best players.
The Save (Amanda Micheli) – Gina Castañeda, a deputy probation officer in Watsonville, Calif., unites teenage boys on probation who have gang history through soccer.
L’ Arbitre (Ruhi Hamid) – A story about Mere Malou, the first international female soccer referee in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Lisa De Vanna (Safina Oberoi) – A look at Australian forward Lisa De Vanna, who is very rough around the edges. Expect a lot of bleeped out swearing in this one.
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