Netflix’s documentary series Last Chance U continues to be the pillar of excellence in the sports broadcasting field. Each season of the show follows a year with a junior college football program. The third season, which followed Independence Community College in Kansas, was released last month.
The massive success, both from critics and fan, of the franchise has propelled into the stratosphere as one of Netflix’s most successful original programs. The series, which focuses on the challenges of some young men in their quest to ultimately reach the level of professional football, focuses on the brutality and vulgarity of the American game, but the style and drama could be similar to a college soccer program.
Which program would make for the best TV from the 2018 season? TopDrawerSoccer ranks the five top candidates to fill the role.
The Gauchos are the favorite for this list by a mile. Considering the pressure on the team this year to make it to College Cup as the host team, the intensity from practice to practice would make for a fantastic story and provide plenty of content for a 10-episode season. There are additional narratives that could fit in without much added drama. There is a redemption story with the return of Axel Mendez to the team this year. There is the dynamic between the new star player Carson Vom Steeg, who is also a transfer from Stanford, and the head coach Tim Vom Steeg, his father. This is going to be a memorable season for the Gauchos and would make for an excellent reality show.
This would be a different show entirely with both programs involved, but the pursuit of excellence is fascinating. Stanford won both the men’s and women’s Division I National Championships in 2017. The women’s team looks likely to repeat with a stacked roster while the men’s team is faced with the challenge of replacing a number of key players. This version of the show may lack drama though as neither program is known for any off-the-field antics and the idea of watching players actually attend class would probably lose the casual viewer.
If you want to pursue a direct replicate of Last Chance U, Tyler is the place for the cameras. The most successful junior college soccer program has the player development history to attract the casual viewer and the recent success to keep the hardcore fan involved. Tyler would have the same hurdles from the original with recruiting from four-year schools and the quick turn-around from team-to-team.
Give me that big personality of Anson Dorrance and then the rest of the show will figure itself out. Dorrance is a captivating figure and he would be fantastic in this type of setting. He has stories for days and has plenty of experience in front of the camera. This might not be the most exciting UNC roster, but some personalities will jump out from the group.
Barring a miracle, this is going to be the last season for the New Mexico men’s soccer program. The school’s Board of Regents elected to cut the program over the summer in a shocking decision. Considering how much the team has meant to that community, there are a number of reasons why the Lobos final season should be documented in some regard and a mini-series or all-access television show would be the perfect medium.