exclusive: watch "wonderkid," the film tackling homophobia in soccer
Four years in the making, Rhys Chapman’s brilliant "WONDERKID" tells the story of a young man coming to terms with his sexuality within the traditionally macho world.
Let's start, as we have before, with the cold hard facts. There are more than 5000 male professional soccer players in Britain. Not one of them is publicly gay. It's a statistic we first used in September 2015 and again in June 2016. At the time of writing it is still mind-bogglingly true. Or as Stonewall once put it, the chances of it being correct — of there being no gay person in a random sample of 5,000 — are still a mind-boggling quadragintillion-to-one.
It's the kind of figure that inspired Rhys Chapman, a 27-year-old filmmaker from East Anglia, to dedicate the last four years to making a film on the subject. "Football is the most watched and played sport in the world," he told us last June. "Because of this I see it as the perfect catalyst for furthering any current issues facing the world."
Following the story of a young player (Chris Mason) as he comes to terms with his sexuality in a traditionally macho environment, WONDERKID first debuted on Sky Sports 1HD last November and is now playing below and at wonderkidfilm.co.uk/watch, with the (ahem) goal of reaching as many people as possible.
"I find it embarrassing that football as an institution is so far behind everyone else in accepting the gay community," continues Rhys. "Which is why it was so important to get the story and film spot on. It's been a long time in the making but I'm over the moon with what we have achieved and I know it can make a world of difference in football." Watch Rhys' brilliant film for yourself below.
Text Matthew Whitehouse