Media company Skydance has scrapped its Dallas Sting project, set to star Matthew McConaughey as real-life soccer coach Bill Kinder, just six weeks before filming was due to start.
As well as McConaughey, Kaitlyn Dever was set to star as Kinder’s daughter, with The Falcon and Winter Soldier‘s Kari Skogland signed on to direct.
Dallas Sting was set in 1984 and tells the true story of a girl’s soccer team that travelled to China at the end of the Cold War and beat some of the best women’s teams in the world.
However, the inspirational tale has been marred by a series of undisclosed but, Indie Wire reports, “disturbing allegations.”
Dallas Sting was going to be based on unpublished article
Metro announced the soccer biopic was to be based on an unpublished article by British basketball player turned sports writer Flinder Boyd. The article was purchased at auction by Skydance and Berlanti Schechter, who were to produce the film.
Boyd’s representatives at film and TV agency Hotchkiss Daily & Associates circulated his 17-page article about the Dallas-based soccer team to many magazines – but it was never published.
The agency reported in August 2020 that Skydance and Berlanti Schechter had acquired Boyd’s The Sting and filming was due to enter production in New Orleans in October 2022.
Bill Kinder was a pioneer of women’s soccer
Flinder Boyd’s article covers Bill Kinder and Dallas Sting’s trip to China in 1984. The coach had worked with the team for more than a decade before the trip of a lifetime.
On the Sting team’s website, Kinder and Lamar Hunt are branded pioneers of women’s soccer. In the 1970s and 1980s, some believed strenuous activity was bad for women and Deadline reports Kinder had to get a note from a gynaecologist to state playing soccer wouldn’t harm his players’ reproductive organs.
But although the US didn’t have a national women’s soccer team at the time, Dallas Sting were selected to represent the nation at the Xi’an International Women’s Football Invitational Tournament in 1984.
Kinder and Hunt put together teams to compete in the High School Girl’s Soccer League in Dallas, Texas, which is now known as the Lake Highlands Girl’s Classic League. Kinder founded The Sting in 1973, named after the classic Robert Redford and Paul Newman movie.
Bill Kinder took Dallas Sting to China – and won
Kinder had never professionally coached but was determined to get his team to China. It was reported Kinder even shelled out $85,000 on his credit cards for non-refundable tickets to ensure the team made the tournament.
Dallas Sting traveled to communist China to compete in the first-ever FIFA tournament for women’s national teams. The trip included a 48-hour train journey across China.
How the soccer team found victory overseas
Although many assumed the teenage soccer team would be thrashed in the tournament, Dallas Sting went on to win. The Sting U19 team was the first US team, male or female, to win a major international tournament.
Sting triumphed over a number of national teams from around the world, beating Australia, Japan and hosts China before defeating top team Italy in the final.
in 1976, Dallas Sting played Mexico’s national champions and two years later were invited to compete at the Women’s World Invitational Tournament in Taipei, Taiwan. The Sting lost to Finland in the final.