What does it take to play for your country? That’s the dream of course…

It is 2022 and the Socceroos finally managed to qualify and progress to the Round of 16 in the FIFA World Cup Qatar, after an epic struggle. Do our young players also have challenges on the world stage? Can a group of Under-11 football players from Sydney Olympic FC SAP squad take on the best clubs in Europe? A film about the multicultural history of the game in Australia, what we can learn from expert coaches in Germany, Australia and the UK, and the challenging pathway our youth players must take to reach the professional level, to become Australia’s future Socceroos and Matildas. What are the barriers to participation, threats from corruption, and how can young players feel safe and supported on their ambitious journey to success?


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The Producer acknowledges the support of Screen Australia through the Producer Equity Program.

‘O-LYM-PIC – Football Dreams’ features children who undoubtedly will become the European football stars of the future. 

Janet Merewether

“I found Janet Merewether’s O-LYM-PIC Football Dreams engaging, heartwarming, dramatic and in a word important – it raises questions about attitudes towards nurturing sporting talent and says a lot about how Australian sporting authorities regard this. It’s a real achievement in independent filmmaking with a very personal connection, and it looks absolutely wonderful on the big screen.”

Australian Screen Industry Statesman

“Merewether packed a bag, a camera, and followed her son, his team-mates, and several of the mothers and (mostly) fathers across Europe to discover from the inside and the ground up, what it takes to become a Socceroo… The documentary offers the audience the thrill all those involved are mediating: they love the game, they are so proud of their children and they are on an adventure… both players and their parents experience the highs and lows, especially for a team used to being the big fish but now realising it was a small pond… Merewether leaves the audience with what she values most about the game: child welfare, passion, and fair play.“

Lisa French – Dean of RMIT University’s School of Media and Communication and Professor of Screen and Media.

From Belmore to the Bundesliga.

When filmmaker Janet Merewether set out to film an ambitious group of 10-year-old underdogs from Sydney Olympic FC on a whirlwind tour, competing against junior football teams from the powerhouses of the Bundesliga and top European clubs such as Manchester United, Ajax and Benfica at the prestigious Legia Cup, little did she expect that she would also be documenting the involvement of (now former) Club President Bill Papas, who is making headlines for allegedly defrauding Westpac Bank for hundreds of millions of dollars. Who knew? Certainly not the parents. 

Essential viewing for all aspiring football players and sports fans, featuring insights from leading coaches such as Schalke’s Sam Farokhi, Hertha Berlin’s Florian Kliche, Manchester United’s Eamon Mulvey, former Socceroo captain Alex Tobin OAM, former Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Perth Glory player Nick Rizzo, and Sydney Olympic’s CEO John Boulous, ‘O-LYM-PIC – Football Dreams’ is a story of professional pathways, youth football and the multicultural history of ‘the world game’ in Australia. The film features exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from top Bundesliga clubs, and competitions which were shut down during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Why does our underdog national team struggle on the world stage, how can the sport be fairer and more affordable, and what can we learn from the expert coaches in Europe to raise the quality and accessibility of the game? 

A story about determination, ambition, and integrity in elite sport, but above all, this is a film about the dream of young athletes to represent their country and to play the game they love.


© Screen Culture / Janet Merewether

Download the Football Dreams Movie Poster here

Selected for the prestigious Paladino D’Oro Sport Film Festival Italy.



Sydney Olympic FC players and parents


Featuring interviews with leading coaches and former players including:

John Boulous (Former Sydney Olympic FC CEO)

Sam Farokhi (FC Schalke 04 Knappenschmiede coach)

Florian Kliche & Michael Dober (Trainers – Hertha BSC Berlin)

Gerald Prell (Deutsch-Tschechische Fußballschule)

Nick Rizzo (former player Sydney Olympic, Liverpool, Crystal Palace, Ternana, Perth Glory) 

Tom Stuckey (RB Leipzig Administration and Organisation Nachwuchsbereich)

Alex Tobin OAM (Adelaide City, former Socceroo captain and TD FNSW, Hills United)



Director, Producer, Writer – Janet Merewether

Cinematographer & Designer – Janet Merewether

Editors – Walter McIntosh & Andrew Arestides with Janet Merewether. 

Additional editing – Peter Humble

Music – Dappled Cities, Apodimi Compania

Sound Design – Liam Egan

Mix – Rob Sullivan

Music Licensing – Kim Green, Music Licensing

Conform and Grade – Roen Davis, CBD Central Business Digital 


Length – 86mins (feature documentary)

Format – HD 16:9

Release date – 2022

Production Company – Screen Culture Pty Limited 

Contact Us Here


The kids that took Australian soccer to the world stage 
ABC RN Life Matters – Broadcast 

Olympic soccer juniors take on Europe


Almanac Film: November 22, 2022 by haysoc (Roy Hay – Football Historian)

NOV – O-LYM-PIC Football Dreams nominated for best Football film internationally, at the Paladino D’Oro Sport Film Festival

Neos Kosmos – by Iris Papathanasiou 5 November 2022



Sydney Arts Guide – David Kary 9 November 2022



OCT/NOV – O-LYM-PIC – Football Dreams – in cinemas nationally.

OCTOBER – Sydney United 58 vs Macarthur FC to go head to head in Australia Cup Final


AUGUST – Olympic Football Dreams has been selected for the prestigious Paladino D’Oro Sport Film Festival, Palermo, Italy, November 2022.



This dynamic documentary charts the highs and lows of an ambitious and talented group of football players from Sydney Olympic FC as they go on tour to Germany, competing against Under 11 teams from the well-resourced giants of the Bundesliga and Europe’s top football clubs at Poland’s prestigious Legia Cup.


The boys travel with their parents, and (former) club president Bill Papas, whose son is in the team, meets the group from time to time, travelling independently and swelling with pride as he mixes with the elites of European football.


The boys from Sydney play a series of warm-up matches against German giants Hannover 96, Borussia Dortmund, FC Schalke 04, RB Leipzig and Hertha Berlin, before valiantly competing against youth teams from Legia, Benfica, Ajax, Sparta Prague at the high-profile Legia Cup in Warsaw, where talented teams from Juventus, Manchester United and Anderlecht also participate. They struggle against such quality opposition, suffering many losses over the two week tour.


A true David and Goliath story, the documentary examines the challenges faced by Australia’s national teams on the world stage, and the high price-tag (up to $2500 per year) of participation in the round-ball game at an elite level in Australia. The documentary compares the Australian ‘pay to play’ system with merit-based German development programs which do not discriminate based on a family’s wealth, and where coaches describe themselves as ‘educators’ with a high level of training, accreditation and expertise.

Featuring valuable insights and interviews with some of Australia, Germany and the UK’s leading youth coaches and former players, ‘O-LYM-PIC – Football Dreams’ features children who undoubtedly will become the European football stars of the future. 

The documentary reflects on the multicultural development of the ‘World Game’ in Australia, the dreams of aspiring players and their professional development, and the positive future for Women’s football in this country, particularly with the upcoming Women’s World Cup in 2023. 
However, the documentary also focuses on the barriers to participation and success, and the potential for corruption in a sport where ‘making it’ professionally can lead to highly lucrative financial contracts. In 2021, the Federal Court of Australia found that Bill Papas, (former) Sydney Olympic Club President, had allegedly defrauded Westpac Bank by hundreds of millions of dollars through forged loan applications. How can this historic club now rebuild, and can kids be better protected?


‘O-LYM-PIC – Football Dreams’ is compelling viewing for young and old players and fans with an interest in the history of football and sporting culture in Australia.
We will all be getting behind the Socceroos in their upcoming 2022 World Cup campaign, and wish them all the best.


© 2022 Screen Culture / Janet Merewether


Contact the filmmaker to book screening at a cinema, club, or venue near you.


Previous screenings


Saturday November 19 (4.30pm)

Sunday November 20 (2.30pm)

RIVERSIDE THEATRE PARRAMATTA – Corner of Church and Market Streets


Sunday November 20


Wallis Cinemas – Mitchum

Located in: Mitcham Square Shopping Centre

AddressLevel 1 Mitcham Shopping Centre, 119 Belair Rd, Torrens Park SA 5062

Phone(08) 8305 4444



Wallis Cinemas – Mt Barker

Address17 Adelaide Rd, Mount Barker SA 5251

Phone(08) 8391 2777



Sunday November 27


Wallis Cinemas – Noarlunga

Address38-42 David Witton Dr, Noarlunga Centre SA 5168

Phone(08) 8326 1313


Saturday 26th November 2022, 10:30 am 


The Backlot Perth, WA

21 Simpson Street West Perth, WA 6005

Great for kids and families as well as football players and fans

Booking Link via EventBrite



World Premiere film launch

MONDAY October 24, 2022


SPECIAL FILMMAKER SOIREE  with cast and crew! 

RANDWICK RITZ SYDNEY – 45 St. Pauls Street Randwick (02) 8324 2500




RANDWICK RITZ SYDNEY – 45 St. Pauls Street Randwick (02) 8324 2500


CLASSIC CINEMAS MELBOURNE – 9 Gordon Street Elsternwick (03) 9524 7900


LIDO CINEMAS MELBOURNE – 75 Glenferrie Road Hawthorn (03) 8658 0000


CAMEO CINEMAS MELBOURNE – 1628 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave  (03) 9754 7844



Dr. Janet Merewether is an award-winning filmmaker, media artist, designer, and academic.

Her film, digital art, and documentary works produced by Go Girl Productions and Screen Culture include Jabe Babe – A Heightened Life and Maverick Mother, garnering numerous Australian and international prizes including ATOM, IF, AFI, and TIDF Awards. Her films and videos have won awards at the Sydney Film Festival and Videobrasil, have enjoyed retrospectives in Taipei, Berlin, Boston, and Australia, as well as being invited to the New York Film Festival, New Directors/New Films MoMA, Tampere, Uppsala, EMAF, Impakt, Sheffield Doc/Fest, DOK Leipzig, and TIDF.

Her feature ‘Reindeer in my Saami Heart’ was nominated for two ATOM Awards (Best Documentary, Best Indigenous Resource) and Best Documentary Script at the AWGIE Awards. The documentary was selected for Margaret Mead FF NY, and enjoyed a theatrical season at Palace cinemas.

Commissions and sales include SBS, ABC, RTP, TVE, Arte/ZDF.

A graduate of the AFTRS, Merewether completed her doctoral degree at UTS in 2008 on the subject of innovative hybrid documentary and continues to explore new visual strategies in television, media art and feature documentary.



Screen Culture Pty Limited produces quality creative film, television, books and media art projects for Australian and International audiences.

Screen Culture, founded by award-winning writer/ director/ producer Janet Merewether in 2007, is engaged in the production of visually creative, quality long-form documentary and media for the Australian and International marketplace. Screen Culture’s productions are distinctively provocative, progressive and playful.

The company promotes the creative expression of ideas through the integration of sophisticated visual design with compelling storytelling. Documentary projects include Maverick Mother (2007), Reindeer in my Saami Heart (2016), O-LYM-PIC – Football Dreams (2022)