Santiago Muñez (Kuno Becker), a skilled association football player, is the son of a gardener and lives in the Barrio section of Los Angeles, having illegally entered the United States from Mexico ten years earlier. Besides gardening with his father, he works as a busboy in a Chinese restaurant whose ultimate dream is to play football professionally. One day his skills are noticed by Glen Foy (Stephen Dillane), a former Newcastle player and scout who works as a car mechanic. Glen manages to get him a tryout with Newcastle United, which has recently signed a new player named Gavin Harris (Alessandro Nivola).
Glen warmly welcomes Santiago to his home and takes him to a tryout. Unfortunately, Santiago is unused to playing in the English style and plays poorly. Glen convinces the team manager that Santi needs a month's trial to show his full potential. Santiago does not reveal to the club nurse, Roz Harmison (Anna Friel), that he has asthma. After a month a jealous teammate crushes Santi's inhaler just before a reserve game. An asthma flair prevents Santi from being able to run hard, and his coach decides to let him go. His teammate Harris discovers what happened in the reserve game and makes Santiago explain it to the manager. The manager allows Santi to stay, provided he gets treatment for his asthma. Santi manages to get a contract for the Reserves team and moves in with Gavin. Finally, he makes it onto the first team as a substitute in a match against Fulham.
Back in Los Angeles, Santi's father dies of a heart attack. Devastated, Santi plans to return home. While in the airport waiting for his flight back to Los Angeles, he changes his mind, and decides not to return. On match day, Harris puts Newcastle into the lead. Before half-time, Liverpool makes a comeback with two goals. In the dying minutes of injury time, Santi assists Harris in scoring the equaliser by finally passing the ball to him, to make it 2-2. Minutes before the end of the game Santiago, scores, and Newcastle win 3–2 and earning Newcastle a place in next season's UEFA Champions League.