Freestyle football

Last updated
Freestyle football
Football freestyle 2013 Masters epee t171023.jpg
Football freestyle demonstration at the 2013 Masters à l'Epée
Highest governing body World Freestyle Football Association [1]
Type Ball sport
Equipment Football
Olympic No

Freestyle football is the art of juggling a football using any part of the body, excluding the elbows to the hands. It combines football tricks, dance, acrobatics and music to entertain onlookers and compete with opponents. The official governing body for this sport is known as the World Freestyle Football Association (WFFA). [1] [2]



The art of freestyle football can be traced to games of Southeast Asia such as chinlone, jianzi and sepak takraw, which have been practised for 2,000 years. Fundamental freestyle tricks such as the 'Neck Stall' and 'Around The World' were first popularly performed in the West by circus performers, notably including Enrico Rastelli and Francis Brunn. [3] [4]

In the 1970s and 1980s, Argentine footballer Diego Maradona famously brought his freestyle 'Life is Life' warm-up to international attention while playing for SSC Napoli. The ability to freestyle, however, was widely criticized at the time as not having direct relevance to playing the game of football.[ citation needed ]

At the beginning of the 21st century, several significant events helped elevate freestyle football with broader recognition. Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho starred in Nike advertising campaigns such as 'Joga Bonito' (English: The Beautiful Game), which popularized the ability to practice alone with a ball and develop new moves and tricks. [5]

Inspired by Maradona, South Korean footballer Mr Woo sought to become a football entertainer. He established Guinness world records and performed at the 1988 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, and the FIFA World Cups in 1990 and 1994. [6] Soufiane Touzani [7] from the Netherlands introduced a new style of lower tricks, which were popularized through viral videos. [7] [ better source needed ]

Footballer Sandy Levittas (a.k.a. Bambiball) was among the first women to share videos of her freestyle skills, [8] [9] which inspired more girls to take up the sport. [10] [11] Different styles were then developed such as lowers, uppers, sit-downs, grounds and blocking.

In 2015, Ronaldinho was recognized by the World Freestyle Football Association (WFFA) as ambassador for the sport. [4] [ timeframe? ] Competitions have been organized across the globe and videos have been shared by over 80 million of people on a monthly basis. [12] [ failed verification ]

In recent years, some of the top football players in the world have credited freestyle and street football cultures for helping to develop their talents. These athletes have included Neymar Jr, [13] [14] Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimović.[ citation needed ]


Tricks or moves in freestyle football are categorized into different disciplines or styles:

Within the above disciplines, the following individual moves are among the most popular:

Competitive freestyle

The first major competition for freestyle football was Red Bull Street Style (RBSS) in 2008, which was hosted in São Paulo, Brazil.[ citation needed ] Séan Garnier won this competition with a style that had not been seen in the public eye before.[ citation needed ]

Super Ball, the first open world championship (where anyone could compete) catered to freestylers with ranging styles, recognizing the many ways to judge a freestyler. Hosted in the Czech Republic, Super Ball became the premiere annual international event for freestylers.[ citation needed ]


The following tournaments are recognized by the official governing body of the World Freestyle Football Association: [15] [ failed verification ]


Typical events in competitive freestyle football include:[ further explanation needed ][ citation needed ]

Ranked freestylers

The WFFA uses results from the official national championships, continental championships, international opens and world open competitions to assign a point ranking to competitors. [16] [ failed verification ][ needs update ]

WFFA Committee

Other key names that brought their own touch to the art of freestyle football over the years include:


In January 2019, freestyle football has received over 80 million video views per month on social media channels.[ citation needed ] There are over 70 related events every year, the largest being the Red Bull Street Style World Final. The sport is enjoyed mainly by a demographic of 12–25 year-olds, with 85% male. [59] [60] [61] [ failed verification ]

Major markets in terms of consumption of freestyle football content include the United States, Mexico, Brazil, UK, Spain, Poland, France, the Middle East, China, Japan and South East Asia, with a direct audience of 1.47 billion football fans around the globe. [62] [ relevant? ]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Juggling</span> Circus skill manipulating objects

Juggling is a physical skill, performed by a juggler, involving the manipulation of objects for recreation, entertainment, art or sport. The most recognizable form of juggling is toss juggling. Juggling can be the manipulation of one object or many objects at the same time, most often using one or two hands but also possible with feet. Jugglers often refer to the objects they juggle as props. The most common props are balls, clubs, or rings. Some jugglers use more dramatic objects such as knives, fire torches or chainsaws. The term juggling can also commonly refer to other prop-based manipulation skills, such as diabolo, plate spinning, devil sticks, poi, cigar boxes, contact juggling, hooping, yo-yo, and hat manipulation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Unicycle</span> One-wheeled mode of transportation

A unicycle is a vehicle that touches the ground with only one wheel. The most common variation has a frame with a saddle, and has a pedal-driven direct-drive. A two speed hub is commercially available for faster unicycling. Unicycling is practiced professionally in circuses, by street performers, in festivals, and as a hobby. Unicycles have also been used to create new sports such as unicycle hockey. In recent years, unicycles have also been used in mountain unicycling, an activity similar to mountain biking or trials.

A hat-trick or hat trick is the achievement of a generally positive feat three times in a match, or another achievement based on the number three.

Thomas Dietz is a professional juggler from Regensburg, Germany. He is recognized as one of the greatest technical jugglers in the world. He holds various unofficial juggling records and also the five club juggling world record of 53 minutes and 21 seconds. However, he gained most of his popularity through several juggling videos featuring his highly technical tricks including siteswap variations, pirouettes, and long runs of numbers with clubs, balls, and sometimes rings.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Street football</span> Informal football variant

The terms street football and street soccer encompass a number of informal varieties of association football. These informal pick up games do not necessarily follow the requirements of a formal game of football, such as a large field, field markings, goal apparatus and corner flags, eleven players per team, or match officials. Many top players have learned to play football on the street, including the likes of Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff, Pelé, Giuseppe Meazza, Éamon Dunphy, Eusebio, and Cristiano Ronaldo, among others.

Vladimir, known as Vova, and Olga Galchenko were a brother and sister juggling team originally from Russia, active from approximately 2001 to 2009. They specialized in club juggling, particularly technical solo juggling, technical club passing and numbers club passing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jianzi</span> Traditional Chinese national sport

Jianzi, tī jianzi (踢毽子), tī jian (踢毽) or jianqiú (毽球), is a traditional Chinese national sport in which players aim to keep a heavily weighted shuttlecock in the air by using their bodies, apart from the hands, unlike in similar games Peteca and Indiaca. The primary source of jianzi is a Chinese ancient game called Cuju of the Han dynasty 2,000 years ago. Jianzi's competitive sport types are played on a badminton court using inner or outer lines in different types of jianzi's competitive sports, respectively. It can also be played artistically, among a circle of players in a street or park, with the objective to keep the shuttle 'up' and show off skills. In Vietnam, it is known as đá cầu and is the national sport. In the Philippines, it is known as sipa and was also the national sport until it was replaced by arnis in December 2009.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Freestyle BMX</span> Cycle sport

Freestyle BMX is bicycle motocross stunt riding on BMX bikes. It is an extreme sport descended from BMX racing that consists of five disciplines: street, park, vert, trails, and flatland. In June 2017, the International Olympic Committee announced that freestyle park was to be added as an Olympic event to the 2020 Summer Olympics.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kendama</span> Japanese cup and ball game

The kendama is a traditional Japanese skill toy. It consists of a handle (ken), a pair of cups (sarado), and a ball (tama) that are all connected together by a string. On one end of the ken is a cup, while the other end of ken is narrowed down, forming a spike (kensaki) that fits into the hole (ana) of the tama. The kendama is the Japanese version of the classic cup-and-ball game, and is also a variant of the French cup-and-ball game bilboquet. Kendama can be held in different grips, and many tricks and combinations can be performed. The game is played by tossing the ball into the air and attempting to catch it on the stick point.

Hooping is the manipulation of and artistic movement or dancing with a hoop. Hoops can be made of metal, wood, or plastic. Hooping combines technical moves and tricks with freestyle or technical dancing. Hooping can be practiced to or performed with music. In contrast to the classic toy hula hoop, modern hoopers use heavier and larger diameter hoops, and frequently rotate the hoop around parts of the body other than the waist, including the hips, chest, neck, shoulders, thighs, knees, arms, hands, thumbs, feet, and toes. The hoop can also be manipulated and rotated off the body as well. Modern hooping has been influenced by art forms such as rhythmic gymnastics, hip-hop, freestyle dance, fire performance, twirling, poi, and other dance and movement forms.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Daniel Rooseboom de Vries</span> Dutch freestyle footballer

Daniel Rooseboom de Vries is a Dutch freestyle footballer from Gorinchem, Netherlands.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hacky sack</span> Ball game

A footbag is a small, round bag usually filled with plastic pellets or sand, which is kicked into the air as part of a competitive game or as a display of dexterity. "Hacky Sack" is the name of a brand of footbag popular in the 1970s, which has since become a generic trademark.

Soufiane Touzani

Soufiane Touzani is a Dutch-Moroccan freestyle footballer and television host from Rotterdam. In 2005, he uploaded a video on YouTube and this became an international success with millions of views. The video also caught the attention of Electronic Arts and they asked him to perform the tricks for the PlayStation game Fifa Street. Famous football players like Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie watched his videos. Neymar even performed some of his tricks: Touzani Around the World and a trick called “New Shit”. His popularity rose and because of that he received invitations from several countries to show his tricks. He performed worldwide and the pinnacle was a performance with Ronaldinho in a full San Siro Stadium.

Arnaud "Séan" Garnier is a French freestyle footballer. He began as an association football player, notably for Auxerre and Troyes, but his professional career was cut short due to injuries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Liv Cooke</span>

Liv Cooke is a British freestyle football world champion, and current six-time world record holder. She was also a BBC Sport presenter on the prime-time show 'MOTDx' and UEFA ambassador, who has previously been awarded the Parliamentary Rising Star and Woman of the Future awards. Although best known for her freestyle football and social media videos, Cooke is also the founder of Liv Cooke Holdings Ltd., a group which encompasses Liv Cooke Properties Ltd., W1NFLUENCE Ltd., and Liv Cooke Ltd..

<span class="mw-page-title-main">F2Freestylers</span> British footballers and YouTubers

The F2Freestylers, also known as The F2, are a British freestyle football duo comprising former amateur footballers Billy Wingrove and Jeremy Lynch. They are best known for their YouTube channel which has over 13 million subscribers.

Terrence Decarlo Delancy Jr. is a Bahamian footballer who plays for Cavalier FC and the Bahamas national football team.

The World Freestyle Football Association (WFFA) is the international governing body of Freestyle Football.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ricardinho (freestyle football)</span> Brazilian freestyle footballer

Ricardo Fabiano Chahini de Araujo, also known as Ricardinho, is a Brazilian freestyle footballer from Belém do Pará, who was the 2019 Red Bull Street Freestyle world champion.

Red Bull Street Style World Championship 2019 was a freestyle competition where qualified freestylers took part in the finals of Freestyle Football. Competitors exhibited their top tricks and unique moves in a 2v2 battle format held over three minutes. The 2019 finals took place at WynWood village, Miami Beach, Florida. It was won by Ricardo Fabiano Chahini in men`s category and Melody Donchet in the women category


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