TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Phenoms TV Poster Image
Solid soccer doc features 2018 FIFA World Cup bound-players.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

It looks at the professional journeys of young, FIFA-bound football talent from around the world. Players work hard and make sacrifices.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players talk about parents, coaches, players, and others who inspired them along the way. 


Players shown tripping, falling, bumping into others. The deaths of parents and other challenges discussed. 


An awards event shows women in evening wear with revealing necklines, and occasionally a bare-chested male is visible.


Team and player sponsor logos include Adidas, Nike, Herbal Life, Air Emirates, Carlsburg Ale, etc. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Phenoms is a documentary series about young 2018 FIFA-bound footballers (soccer players to us Americans). Match footage shows players falling, getting hit, and playing their best. Interviews with players, family members, and coaches include conversations about the deaths of parents and other personal challenges. There are lots of logos, ranging from Adidas and Nike to Carlsburg, Air Emirates, and other corporate sponsors. The overall series promotes FIFA, the 2018 World Cup Championship, and the players. Older tween and teen fans of the sport should be able to handle it with no problem, but younger fans might find it slow. 

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What's the story?

PHENOMS is a documentary series that profiles 16 top-level European football (aka soccer) players from leagues around the world. Footballers like Real Madrid’s midfield attacker Marco Asensio; Marquinos, Paris Saint-Germain’s central defender; and FC Spartak Moscow goalie Aleksandr Selikhov are gearing up for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The young players have made a name for themselves in their native countries, and some have succeeded at playing for football clubs abroad. Others are hoping to be recruited in order to have the opportunity to play world-standard matches. Family members, coaches, and others also offer their insights about their upbringing, their talents, and pivotal moments in their lives and careers thus far. Whether it be to fulfill a family legacy or to earn enough money to support their families at home, every player is working hard and making sacrifices to reach the top of the sport they love so much. 

Is it any good?

This documentary series offers an interesting look at the lives of some of European football’s most promising young players. From daily practices and national-level matches to representing their homelands at the Olympics and the World Cup, it offers sports fans the chance to get to know more about each of the profiled players. Players also offer some of their insights about what the sport means to them and the challenges they must overcome to play it. 

Soccer fans will enjoy what is featured here, which ranges from interviews with players to video footage of past matches. The interactions between the players and young fans are also fun to watch. But not every personal narrative featured here is about success. Nonetheless, Phenoms successfully highlights the passion each of these players has for the sport and the talent they have to play it. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the sacrifices footballers make in order to play in world-standard matches. What makes leaving their homes and families to play for football clubs in other countries worth it?

  • Why were the players featured on Phenoms chosen to be profiled? What makes them stand out from other footballers? Is there a player that you think should have been featured? 

  • Why isn't soccer more popular in the United States? How do sports become popular in certain countries and not in others? 

TV details

  • Premiere date: May 25, 2018
  • Network: Fox
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • Character strengths: Perseverance, Teamwork
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: March 13, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sports

Character Strengths

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