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Common Goals, The Language of Soccer A Project of Documentaries

What can foreign born high school boys teach us about working together?

What does it take to make a team? How do 40 immigrant and refugee boys who have escaped famine, poverty, war and heartbreak come together at a high school in Cincinnati, Ohio, to play the game they love? Hailing from 17 countries, speaking different languages and only beginning to learn English, they quickly realize the street soccer they played at home is much different from American high school soccer. Their dedicated coaches have their work cut out for them getting the team ready to face their suburban opponents. This is a story of creating a cohesive team, acclimating to American life and establishing identities as American teens. It's possible because they speak the language of soccer.

Team Tigers represent a microcosm of the challenges faced in their new lives: language, culture, style, money and race. Besides game rules, positions and stamina, their coaches are tasked with teaching these young survivors to suffer game losses with pride and to show up the next day for another practice.

But if a winning team needs a shared understanding of the task, how are the coaches overcoming these odds? How are they even functional?

The things that unite us are much stronger than our differences

At the core of human nature, we all want the same things: health, happiness and a better life. If those 3 elements are in place, that's a win.

"For our kids and for all the kids on the teams we played, it's kind of an amazing opportunity to build bridges and really understand where all the different people in the world come from ... show[ing] that the world is a lot bigger," says former head coach Tyler Barrott.

These families came to the United States for opportunity. The coaches are excited about the opportunities, too. They love the sport and the kids. "To have these kids together ... once we make the team proud, it'll just echo throughout the community that we have all these obstacles, and yet we can still compete."

Through our film, the viewer will witness the transformative power that diversity offers a community--any community. Regardless of the challenges, working together towards a common goal provides deep and lasting impact.

Megan Park and Michelle Gardner partnered up in 2013 to launch a boutique production company specializing in non-profit fundraising and mission videos. With the use of effective storytelling, Little Sprig has helped raise more than 1.5 million dollars for regional foundations including Habitat for Humanity, American Heart Association, St. Vincent de Paul, and the Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati.

Megan Park, Producer/Director

Originally from western Pennsylvania, Megan spent 20 years in New York producing award-winning television, documentary, and independent films. Projects include Real Moms, Real Stories, Real Savvy (PBS), Beyond Conviction (MSNBC), Whatever (Sundance Film Festival/Sony Pictures Classics), and other independent features and shorts which enjoyed festival success worldwide.

As Program Manager for Stages for Youth, Megan designed the curriculum for the filmmaking bootcamp which taught middle and high school students to write, shoot, direct, edit, and complete a short film in 2 weeks. Films from the program have won awards at regional festivals and earned acceptance to the White House Student Film Festival.

Megan is a founding board member of Women in Film, Cincinnati which is committed to celebrating and advancing the creative and professional development of women in the region working in film, television, and digital media. In addition, Megan is currently the Little Sprig Productions representative serving on the board of Eyes Open International, a Cincinnati based nonprofit seeking to prevent human labor trafficking.

Michelle Gardner, Director/Editor

Michelle began her career in local news in West Palm Beach, Florida, where she met then President Bill Clinton and now President Trump.

She moved to Atlanta in 2000 and began working at CNN. Michelle was producing in Nashville, home of the Gore headquarters, during the night of the historic Bush/Gore presidential election. After 9/11, when all eyes turned to CNN for coverage, Michelle earned an Emmy recognizing "the unprecedented challenges and ability to inform viewers in this important chapter in broadcast journalism history."

Michelle is co-founder of Little Sprig Productions where she enjoys the challenges of finding the heart of the stories she writes and edits. Currently, she and her family are are experiencing life as expats in Turin, Italy.

We need your help to complete this important, timely story about real life refugees achieving their common goals in their new lives.

$5,550 Raised
11% towards $50,000 Goal

Supported by 9 Donations:

  • Matt C.
    I Gave $50
  • Christine D.
    I Gave $25
    You create the best projects! All my best wishes from the bottom of my heart to see you accomplish your goals!
  • Pamela H.
    I Gave $100
  • Camille P.
    I Gave $50
  • Shannon P.
    I Gave $50
  • Silhouette
    I Gave $2,500
  • Joan S.
    I Gave $25
    Wonderful project - good luck with everything!
  • Silhouette
    I Gave $2,500
    Compelling and timely story!