Freestyle football, known as freestyle soccer in North America, involves performing tricks with a football and any part of the body. The sport has become increasingly popular across the world and is governed by the Freestyle Football Federation.
Competitors in the sport perform a short performance of their skills (either three 30 second performances or a single minute long performance, depending on the competition) and judges rank them using six criteria; difficulty, originality, all round skills, trick execution, number of mistakes and trick variety.
While freestyle football has existed since the early 1900s, the increase in digital media sharing and advertising campaigns such as Nike has increased the sport’s popularity. Many people think this campaign had a large contribution to the cause of the freestyle craze. This particular campaign included footage of famous footballers such as Ronaldinho and Cristiano Ronaldo performing tricks. The videos are called ‘Joga Bonito’, meaning ‘Play Beautiful’.
Victor Rubilar is a professional freestyler from Argentina, who is a five-time Guinness World Record holder in freestyle football. He broke the records for ‘The most rolls of a football from temple to temple’, ‘The most footballs juggled’, ‘The longest time to spin a football on the forehead’, ‘The longest distance travelled while balancing a ball on the forehead’ and ‘The most consecutive football rolls across the forehead’.
Did you know…
- The definition of freestyle football is described as the “art of self-expression”, using a football.
- Many footballers use freestyle in order to become more comfortable with the ball and “build a relationship with it”. This self-expression is thought to help many improve their skill and control when playing the standard game.
- Freestyle football has become very popular in South America, with many countries there forming freestyle crews with hundreds of members.