Though it is ESPN’s last time with the World Cup through 2022, the Worldwide Leader is using all of its tools to properly lead up to the quadrennial footballing tournament.
ESPN will air a six-part documentary series for five consecutive weeks, starting May 13. Unlike Fox, who announced a six-part documentary series comprised of separate films earlier last week, ESPN’s six-parter will only focus on the United States national team in the leadup to the World Cup. Produced by veteran 30 for 30 director/producer Jonathan Hock and Men in Blazers host and soccer writer Roger Bennett, the series will provide an inside look into the training and preparation from the U.S – hence the name “Inside: US Soccer’s March to Brazil.”
Hock has been a part of some great 30 for 30’s including “The Best that Never Was” about former Oklahoma running back Marcus Dupree and “Survive and Advance” about Jim Valvano and North Carolina State’s run to the NCAA men’s basketball national title. Hock’s production company is also currently involved in producing the ongoing series of “The Finish Line” on Grantland, following Steve Nash during his potentially last season.
Bennett is a scholastically brilliant football mind who speaks in poems and history, while combining humor and intrinsic knowledge on the Men in Blazers podcast with his co-host Michael Davies. He’s also one of the best interviewers and sportswriters that ESPN has on staff, and should make a great producer for this project.
The 24/7-type look into the U.S. team’s training and three friendly games will be unparallelled access for ESPN. With the American team at one of its best moments in history and soccer at its most recent pinnacle of popularity in the U.S., this documentary series couldn’t come at a better time.
Let’s just hope the documentary series doesn’t give Klinsmann and his team the non-championship result of every NFL team that’s ever been on Hard Knocks.