It’s easy to see what compelled directors David Alonso, Edwin Corona Ramos, and Jennifer Socorro to relay the story of Venezuala’s women’s soccer team. Wait, an additional qualifier: this is the under-17 squad—and it’s only some of the story. They Call Us Warriors is the resultant film, and while we don’t learn that much about these particular players, we do get a sense of what their success on the international stage means to Venezuela—and to young girls especially.
The film follows a handful of the squad’s key players, including injured star Daniuska Rodríguez and captain Deyna Castellanos, as they prepare for the 2018 U-17 Women’s World Cup. In the larger soccer universe, it’s not exactly the most celebrated tournament, but the competition is not without impact. That’s the film’s main appeal, seeing snapshots of both where these young women come from and how they contribute to the team on the field. The filmmakers take something of a basic approach in this regard, splicing interviews with family, coaches, and the players themselves, to present a united front. Everyone in They Call Us Warriors is supportive of everyone else, with very little strife appearing outside the painted lines of the pitch. It’s understood that hard work will be required of these players, but there are only hints at the grander sacrifices being made to help them. As for the broader situation in Venezuela and the harsh environments producing some of these young women, the details are mostly left out.
Still, it’s fun to watch these girls play soccer and win games. And while the positivity of They Call Us Warriors grows a bit tiresome, there are affecting moments to be found in the film. There is something to be said for the family members who help to realize their daughters’ dreams and the coaches who believe in them. As for the tournament itself, it grants these young players the chance to prove something—if only to themselves. Maybe we don’t need more than that to come away with a good feeling.