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The Story of ‘Air Bud: World Pup’



By: Kerry Ding


Twenty-four years ago, in 1999, the United States won its second World Cup title, which changed everything. What made this so world-changing is that the Women’s World Cup was held in the United States, making people in the US more interested in soccer. When the United States beat China in this game, nearly 40 million people listened and watched the game from home.


The images of Brandi Chastain, a player celebrating the historical win, are now embedded in Women’s World Cup culture. Just a year later, the Air Bud film franchise created a film based on soccer about a dog saving soccer by helping a kid’s team score and win a soccer match. However, in the last six minutes of the movie, there is a re-creation of the 1999 women’s World Cup where Buddy the dog jumps in to help an injured Briana Scurry, the goalkeeper, win the game.


Robert Vince, an executive producer of the Air Bud franchise, once said that he thought the moment being included in the film was just an obvious choice. He said, “They didn’t just win it, they dominated it. They became an obvious choice for us. We also felt that there was a real opportunity to elevate the game for girls as well. It was just such a moment.” He wanted to show how when American women won the World Cup, they didn’t just win; they dominated. Mr. Vince wished to elevate the game of soccer for girls, too.


When the players were offered a role in the film, only three accepted the offer. However, they were enough. Chastain, one of the players who accepted, said, “I’m a sucker for dogs anyway.” Briana Scurry also took a role in the film and says she still gets asked for autographs because she was the “goalkeeper from Air Bud.” They believe the film reignited public interest in the 1999 Women’s World Cup. Now each new generation that hasn’t watched the original 1999 Women’s World Cup can rediscover the excitement of the game by watching the fantastic film ‘Air Bud: World Pup.’



Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/03/movies/air-bud-world-pup-soccer-world-cup.html

https://www.fifa.com/tournaments/womens/womensworldcup/usa1999

https://www.amazon.com/Air-Bud-World-Kevin-Zegers/dp/B006ECSSA2

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