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One More Game
After graduating as Northwestern University’s all time leading goal scorer, Matt Eliason failed to make the draft for Major League Soccer. Two years later, he had all but hung up his boots for a desk job in Chicago, when he received a text from his former college coach Tim Lenahan, “You interested in playing against Messi next Saturday? Seriously.” The world’s greatest player was bringing a cast of international superstars to play a ‘friendly’ match at Chicago’s Soldier Field, but half the professionals had dropped out. Completely out of shape and having played nothing but coed-league kickball for the past year, Matt had a week to prepare for the biggest soccer stage of his career.
Broadcast globally on ESPN, Eliason would share the field with soccer deities like Aimar, Mascherano, Cesar and of course Messi. It was in the 28th minute that he received a chip from Thierry Henry in front of the goal. Instead of passing it right back, Eliason popped it up off his chest and hurled his body backwards, striking the ball in a spectacular bicycle kick. The blistering shot blew past the flailing goalkeeper, and the stadium erupted for some guy they’d never heard of.
ESPN named Eliason’s goal the number one play of the week and the clip went viral, receiving nearly four million hits on YouTube. Football clubs from all over the world started calling, and Eliason would earn a spot playing striker for Throttur FC in Reykjavic, Iceland.
Having never left Chicago before, Matt embarked on the journey of a lifetime to play the game he loved on a volcanic island in the North Atlantic with twenty-two hours of daylight.
Messi & Me follows Matt Eliason on this unexpected journey to pursue a dream he had all but given up on.