Written, Directed and Produced by Janet Merewether

O-LYM-PIC Football Dreams

What does it take to play for your country? That’s the dream of course…

It is 2022 and the Socceroos finally managed to qualify and progress to the Round of 16 in the FIFA World Cup Qatar, after an epic struggle. Do our young players also have challenges on the world stage? Can a group of Under-11 football players from Sydney Olympic FC SAP squad take on the best clubs in Europe? A film about the multicultural history of the game in Australia, what we can learn from expert coaches in Germany, Australia and the UK, and the challenging pathway our youth players must take to reach the professional level, to become Australia’s future Socceroos and Matildas. What are the barriers to participation, threats from corruption, and how can young players feel safe and supported on their ambitious journey to success?

Stream now on Antidote Films.

The Producer acknowledges the support of Screen Australia through the Producer Equity Program.

From Belmore to the Bundesliga.

When filmmaker Janet Merewether set out to film an ambitious group of 10-year-old underdogs from Sydney Olympic FC on a whirlwind tour, competing against junior football teams from the powerhouses of the Bundesliga and top European clubs such as Manchester United, Ajax and Benfica at the prestigious Legia Cup, little did she expect that she would also be documenting the involvement of (now former) Club President Bill Papas, who is making headlines for allegedly defrauding Westpac Bank for hundreds of millions of dollars. Who knew? Certainly not the parents. 

Essential viewing for all aspiring football players and sports fans, featuring insights from leading coaches such as Schalke’s Sam Farokhi, Hertha Berlin’s Florian Kliche, Manchester United’s Eamon Mulvey, former Socceroo captain Alex Tobin OAM, former Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Perth Glory player Nick Rizzo, and Sydney Olympic’s CEO John Boulous, ‘O-LYM-PIC – Football Dreams’ is a story of professional pathways, youth football and the multicultural history of ‘the world game’ in Australia. The film features exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from top Bundesliga clubs, and competitions which were shut down during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Why does our underdog national team struggle on the world stage, how can the sport be fairer and more affordable, and what can we learn from the expert coaches in Europe to raise the quality and accessibility of the game? 

A story about determination, ambition, and integrity in elite sport, but above all, this is a film about the dream of young athletes to represent their country and to play the game they love.


© Screen Culture / Janet Merewether