In recent years, 12 Venezuelan professional soccer players have signed with Major League Soccer clubs. They include Yangel Herrera (NYCFC), Junior Moreno (D.C. United), Jefferson Savarino (Real Salt Lake) and Josef Martinez.
This fall Copa90, “The home of global football fan culture,” and MLS came together to pay tribute their stories on both Univision Deportes and MLS. Directed by Ethan Steinman, Daltonic Films, the production was shot at soccer clubs throughout the United States and in Venezuela. It includes interviews with Atlanta United’s Technical Director Gerardo “Tata” Martino, Portland Timbers’ Head Coach Giovanni Savarese, among other distinguished soccer professionals.
Notably, the short documentary opens with this year’s 2018 Major League Soccer Golden Boot Winner – Atlanta United’s striker Josef Martínez whose 31 goals this year broke the MLS single-season goals record set in 1996. Martinez’s success has helped pave the wave for other Venezuelan soccer players both in the U.S. and Canada.
Also working with the Copa90 team, which included producer Maura Gladys, to help bring this story to Univision and MLS, were two seasoned sports journalists based in Venezuela, Adriana Flores and Guillermo Arcay with whom I liaised on a daily basis, as the production’s associate producer and project manager, to oversee the production schedule and footage requests. They also took their cameras on location to Martinez’s old neighborhood, El Combate. Here I share a few of the behind-the-scenes pictures of the Venezuelan shoot, courtesy of Flores and Arcay.