Rooted from a real story sometime in the fall of 1987, Coach White, a former Science and P.E. teacher traveled to McFarland, California to teach. With a group of kids from the family of farm workers, he persuaded his team to win the state’s first overseas competition.
A deprived rural area where most Mexican-American farmers reside and crop fresh pickers, McFarland is ruled by customs totally opposite to what his family has been used to. But out of his persistence and love for teaching, he discovered his new-found niche.
It is when he observed how swift some of his students run, he was astonished that the team might occupy it in cross-country. He studied training tools and books and later proposed state funds to support them.
McFarland USA is an uplifting drama regarding a Mexican-American sports team from Southern California consisting of boys from intergenerational households who worked diligently to win.
With time and understanding opened the opportunity from either side of the cultural partition. Friendships were developed. There begins a mutual appreciation. Kids scorning Mr. White started to call him “Coach”. The community finally set the idea of assisting a home team. And eventually, his wife Cheryl realized that McFarland is the only place where they felt home.
Solidarity, support, and identity –
Coach White may not be ideal, but he’s dedicated for his runners to learn something not only through his lectures during class but also by their own experiences during the competition. Coach White did his best to better appreciate the Latino culture. He changed his instructing commands to the way how families in McFarland live. He coached his team in and out of the training field. He pushed the boys to arrive at their physical conditions and achieve their educational ambitions they did not think they would accomplish at all.
While there are few adult subject matters about rights and status, plus a few scenes of stabbing that sent some kids to the hospital, fist fights, suicide attempt, and a violent father to his family, this is meant to grasp the reality of the narrative. Bloody tales really happen in Hispanic countryside.
At the end of the credits, the team’s runners were all sent off to college. They turned out to be property owners, writers, lead coaches and educators; a well-told, heartwarming and inspirational finish.
Directed By: Niki Caro
Written By: William Broyles Jr. , Christopher Cleveland , Bettina Gilois , Grant Thompson, Chris Cleveland