The History

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    Enrico Rastelli

Football Freestyle is the art of performing tricks with a football.

However if you scratch the surface you’ll soon discover that it’s more than just tricks. For freestylers today it’s an art form, a sport and a lifestyle. It’s difficult to pin point the exact moment in time where freestyle truly began.

Over 2000 years ago games such as Chinlone, Jianzi and Sepak Takraw in Southern and South East Asia all embraced many skills that relate directly to the art and sport as we know it today, but where freestyle football really began to form was in the 20th century. When you think about fundamental freestyle tricks such as the ‘Neck Stall’ and ‘Around The World’; These were first performed in the 1800’s by circus performers such as Enrico Rastelli and Francis Brunn. If you watch videos of their performances today you can see many similarities to every modern day freestyler.

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    Diego Maradona

Despite the tricks, this was not 'freestyle football' - it was juggling.

It wasn’t until the 1980’s that freestyle became strongly associated to football. Diego Maradona, probably the best footballer in the world at that time, was the first person to perform these fundamental moves on a global stage and this pushed football freestyle into existence. Mr Woo and Kang Sung Min, two South Korean freestylers, would train with a football for up to 8 hours a day developing this new found art form. Later it was Mr Woo who carried freestyle football through the nineties virtually alone, showcasing new tricks such as sole juggling to audiences all over the world.

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    Kitti Szasz

Even then, freestyle football was considered a novelty and only practiced by a handful of people across the globe.

For freestyle football to develop it needed another push. At the beginning of the new millennium several significant events helped propel freestyle football into a new era, giving it an identity for the first time. Brazilian football icon Ronaldinho starred in Nike commercials, alongside Mr Woo, which glamorised freestyle. Soufiane Touzani, from the Netherlands introduced a new style of lower tricks and thanks to the internet and the fast developing mobile industry these videos travelled like wild fire. Suddenly everybody knew what freestyle football was. This inspired millions and freestyle football as we know it began.

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    Szymon Skalski

Now globally known as freestyle football, a sport was born.

Freestylers began to realise that there were no rules and no limitations. Different styles were developed such as; lowers, uppers, sitdowns, grounds and blocking. Because of the huge influx of newcomers to the sport, there was a sudden urgency to leave your own mark on the culture, meaning that the difficulty and level quickly rose. The next step for freestyle football to continue evolving and developing was to host live competitions. Battling one on one for national, continental and world titles would give freestylers a new sense of meaning to their daily training. The first major competition of this kind was Red Bull Street Style in 2008, which was hosted in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Sean Garnier won this competition with a style and look that hadn’t been seen in the public eye before. All of this meant that freestyle football was becoming a sport in its own right.

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    Wassim Benslimane

In 2011 the Freestyle Football Federation was established in the UK.

It was created by leading freestylers and personnel from within the scene to develop support and structure for this exciting culture and sport.

Super Ball; the first ‘open’ world championship, where anybody can compete opened up the competitive side of the sport to new possibilities. It created competitions within the event, which would cater for freestylers with ranging styles, recognising that there is not just one true way to judge a freestyler. It was and is a competition for freestylers, by freestylers. Super Ball is now an annual event hosted in the Czech Republic and has become somewhat of an annual pilgrimage for freestylers from all corners of the world to come together and celebrate the culture and progress of freestyle football.

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    Ronaldinho

In 2015 the Freestyle Football Federation teamed up with legendary footballer and icon for freestyle football Ronaldinho

to endorse him as the global ambassador for the sport.

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Today competitions are organised across all habitable contents and videos are being shared by millions of people on a monthly basis.

CONTACT FREESTYLE FOOTBALL FEDERATION

If you would like to contact Freestyle Football Federation you can submit an email to any of our teams by click the button to the right. We would love to hear from you.