‘Goal! The Dream Begins’ | Reflection

In this paper, I will describe how the movie entitled ‘Goal! The Dream Begins’ has inspired me. This film has given me significant insights and realisation about life.

In 2005, my son who was ten years old then asked me to bring him to see this movie. His love and passion for football was instilled during his one year education in England. As I am not a football fan, I went to see this movie with the idea that this is just an ordinary soccer film. Little did I know that this movie has warmly touched my heart and inspired me.

The movie, ‘Goal! The Dream Begins’ is a fictional story of a Mexican-American, Santiago Munez, living in Los Angeles. The plot revolves around the life of Santiago, from a footballer to a professional soccer player. As an underprivileged Mexican-American immigrant growing up in the poor sector of Los Angeles, Santiago seemed destined to follow his father’s footsteps, laboring at menial jobs to earn just enough money to support his family. His father wanted him to join the family business and helped their family financially. Though Santiago was incredibly talented in soccer, his father discouraged him from playing soccer, believing that it was only a worthless fantasy. He was skeptical and disapproved his dream. He refused to accept his child’s potential. However, Santiago’s grandmother (Colon) could see the potential that lied within her grandson and supported him in reaching his ambition.

In the movie, one day, a former British professional, Glen Foy, spotted Santiago playing in a pickup game, and promised him a try out for Newcastle United. When Santiago was given the chance of a life time, he had to made a decision whether he should leave his family and his life in Los Angeles and traveled to England to fulfill his dream. Santiago’s greatest obstacle was he had no money to buy an air ticket to England. His father has taken his savings to buy a truck for the family business. He was frustrated and he thought there was the end of his dream. But his grandmother sold her jewelry and he left without his father’s knowledge to England to achieve his dream.

In life, parents tend to be over realistic and worry about the future prospects of their children. They have many times unintentionally dimmed their children’s dreams. Dreams are wonderful and essential as they give us hope and make us move on in life. According to Gallozi (2010), a dream is “one’s vision, aspiration or fervent hope for the future”. Ozzie Smith, a famous baseball player in America once said “all great journeys start with a dream”. Of course, we should dream the right dreams and follow our dreams until we make them come true. This plot of the movie reminds me of two occasions in my life. Firstly, after form five, like many students, I wanted to further my study overseas. However, due to financial problem, I have to study locally. My father whose income was barely enough to meet the family expenses had to sacrifice much to sponsor my study in University of Malaya. It was my father’s support that I could gain a varsity education. Second occasion was when I was looking for a job. My passion was to teach. My father did not stop me from following that though he wanted me to be an accountant. And because of his approval, I was able to enter into the teaching profession and this passion still lives on after 26 years.

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This plot also challenged me as a parent. It is important for parents support our children in fulfilling their dreams. We are to help to nurture their dreams. We can provide a conducive environment at home for them to grow into their full potential. When my son was 11 years, I have discovered his talent in music. As a parent, I have tried to support him encouraging him to pursue his dream in playing drum, guitar and piano.

Santiago went through trials and tribulations to earn his rightful place in the squad. He soon realised that becoming professional soccer player is not as easy as it looks and that his father may have been right. As things began to get tougher, Santiago realised that he must first believe in himself before anyone else will. His hard work paid off as he eventually was noticed by the coach and made to the reserve team. Like Santiago, he did not give up although he got screwed several times. However, just believing we can do something does not mean there will not be any problems. We need to look for solutions to our problems. Santiago tried to adapt to the rough-and-tumble of the English game such as he had never played in rain or mud before and he also tried to avoid the immoral lifestyles of his teammates.

The year 2005 was a tough year for me as I was in the midst of my PhD study. I could personally relate this plot of the movie when I was watching it. As my study was based on a split programme, I had to return to Malaysia for a year. In 2005, I have returned from England to collect data for my PhD. I had to “believe in myself” and moved on when I faced difficulties in getting responses from questionnaire survey. Interviews with the financial analysts were also a challenge to me.

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The movie has prepared me mentally for 2006, the year which I had to go to England alone to continue with my PhD. Living alone in England was really a challenge. It took me a while to adjust to my lifestyle there. My main focus in that year was to analyse the data collected and complete my thesis. The PhD journey was not easy. There was this though of quitting but determination and believing in myself had kept me going and completing my PhD and went for my viva within three and a half years.

In addition, this movie also has inspired to continue learning my piano which I had stopped pursuing my PhD. I am still taking piano lessons today to improve my skills. The belief in myself has helped me to reach this today.

Despite of having asthma, Santiago never loses his grip of becoming a professional soccer play. At first, he was in denial of his case. He even lied during his physical examination. Yet, when his league manager, Mr. Dornhelm, learned about his condition, he immediately advised him to see a physician for a thorough check up. As a result of this courageous revelation, Santiago’s morale lifted up. Denial is a negative parcel of life. It is a common mechanism we adopt to cope with our difficulties. According to Jacobson (2010), denial makes us feel safer and secure but it does not change the truth. We love to deny things until we get to realise there is no genuineness inside me. The truth is facing our weaknesses might be a liability but it is not an obstacle.

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We also see that when Santiago’s father died of heart attack while he was in England, he had to make the choice between pursuing self-interest over duty to family that Santiago has to make. Finally, he has chosen to continue with the pursuit of his dream. In 2003, I had to make an important decision in my life. It was a decision which affected also my family and my mother-in-law. Being the only son, my husband is expected to look after his aged mother. The decision as to whether the whole family should go to UK with me or otherwise was tough. Of course, personally I would like to all to go based on selfish reason. However, duty to family is another issue. Whatever the decision there are consequences.

In this film, there are two great Samaritans behind Santiago’s success. First is his grandmother who gave Santiago the air ticket to his dream. Second is Mr. Glen Foy the retired professional football player who discovered Santiago’s talent. Despite of failures and frustrations, he still helps Santiago in any means. In my life, there are also two Samaritans who have helped me in achieving my goals in my life. They are my father and my PhD supervisor. My father motivated me in reaching my goals in life. He had not stopped me from studying even though the Chinese believe that women should not study so much. My supervisor’s dedication and commitment in his work has helped me much in completing my PhD.


Even though this film is a fiction it brings out various truths in life. As we relate well to stories, ‘Goal! The Dream Begins’ is a charming story which will appeal to all especially for those who have left their innermost dreams behind. We need to believe in ourselves and follow our dreams. This movie inspires us not to give up but nurture our dreams until they are fulfilled.

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