- The world’s most important freestyle football tournament will not only go ahead in 2020 – it will be more inclusive than ever
- After over a decade of World Finals in front of crowds on five continents, Red Bull Street Style will take the official World Championship of freestyle football entirely online – with anyone being able to submit a video clip
- The field will be narrowed down until the best international men and women turn it up in a live online World Final streamed globally
- The first stage for UK entries is now open
Freestyle football is the art of performing tricks with a football, and Red Bull Street Style is the sport’s premier event. The current global situation has seen freestyle football rise in popularity given it can be done individually anywhere, anytime. All you need is a ball. The format has five stages with the first entry window in the UK open until 21st June 2020. At www.redbullstreetstyle.com, everybody from across the planet is invited to submit a video with a 30-second set showing their all-round skills, which will be reviewed by judges selected by the WFFA. Of the thousands expected to enter, only the top 200 men and top 60 women, will advance.
Subsequent stages will serve up specific challenges related to musicality, trick execution, and creativity. With each, the field is whittled further, while the global exposure, including live performances, grows higher.
Finally, 16 men and 8 women will face off in Stage 5, the battle of the online World Final, streamed live worldwide. Among them are anticipated to be the defending World Champions, who get an automatic berth in Stage 4: Reigning freestyle queen Mélody Donchet of France is the only person, woman or man, to have captured three Red Bull Street Style titles. Ricardo “Ricardinho” Fabiano Chahini de Araújo is the first Brazilian to hold the men’s crown.
Speaking on the tournament, Steve Elias, President of the World Freestyle Football Association (WFFA) said: “This online season of Red Bull Street Style is totally unique: There has never been a freestyle competition on this scale that’s online and open to everyone. We’re going to see all the top stars and also discover new faces who never had a chance to enter before. It’s exciting.”
Launched in 2008, Red Bull Street Style aims to find the best overall freestyle football player in the world. The sport is all about combining out-of-the-box creativity with out-of-the-ordinary skills. The most creative, technical and stylish player in each gender is crowned Red Bull Street Style World Champion. The elite judging panel has included such legends as Roberto Carlos, Gary Neville, Fabio Cannavaro, Edgar Davids, Luís “Nani” Almeida and Pável Pardo.
To enter qualifying for the Red Bull Street Style World Final in 2020, the requirements are simple: Videos must be no longer than 45 seconds overall, with the freestyle set lasting no longer than 30 seconds. They also must be in horizontal (landscape) format and without edits. No music is allowed. Everyone 16 or older is welcome to take part. For submission details, deadline information, and all the news and updates on the Red Bull Street Style World Championship: www.redbullstreetstyle.com
“For me, Red Bull Street Style is the best competition in the world. It’s the one I’ve participated in the most – and the competitive aspect is only part of the reason why. It’s also got a big media presence, which helps me share my passion for the sport. I want to help more and more people get to know this discipline of football.”
– Mélody Donchet (FRA), reigning Red Bull Street Style World Champion and only three-time titleholder in its history
“We want everyone to participate. If you’ve got any skills, then pick up the ball, show us your freestyle moves and upload a video. Red Bull Street Style is open to everyone across the world, in every single country. It’s a great opportunity to be involved with this competition.”
– Steve Elias, President of the World Freestyle Football Association (WFFA), which is collaborating to put on Red Bull Street Style global qualifiers
Interview with Mélody Donchet
Mélody Donchet is one of the biggest stars in freestyle football. The reigning women’s Red Bull Street Style World Champion, Mélody is the only athlete, male or female, to have captured the coveted crown three times.
Mélody, thanks for your time. For those who may not be aware, can you talk a little about your history with Red Bull Street Style?
I’ve been lucky enough to qualify for all the Red Bull Street Style World Finals since the creation of the World Championship for women in 2012. That was in Lecce, Italy, and then there was Japan, Brazil, London, Poland and Miami. So I’ve done six! It’s been very important for me, and out of my five titles, three are from Red Bull Street Style.
What appeals to you about this tournament?
For me, Red Bull Street Style is the best competition in the world. It’s the one I’ve participated in the most – and the competitive aspect is only part of the reason why. It’s also got a big media presence, which helps me share my passion for the sport. I want to help more and more people get to know this discipline of football.
So how did it feel to take that third win at the World Final in Miami last fall?
I was very happy. I was injured, and so taking a third title wasn’t really my objective, but lots of people encouraged me and I’m very pleased that things turned out the way they did.
Speaking of that knee problem, how are you feeling now?
I’m still not 100% because it was a major injury. I can’t see the doctor right now because of the current situation, but I have been taking care of it, and it’s not the first time I’ve been injured. I always work to find a way to succeed.
Having achieved so much, have you thought about how much longer you want to continue competing?
Right now I’m the freestyler with the most titles in the world. But I’m getting older. Maybe I should give way for the younger generation soon. I don’t know. I’m going to think about it.
The Red Bull Street Style World Championship will be entirely online this year. What are your thoughts about that?
I don’t have the details yet, but this has never been done! Nothing like this has ever existed. The final has always been on a stage in front of a big crowd, face to face. I’m really interested to find out more.
In the meantime, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Even if I don’t know them personally, I can feel that they have confidence in me. Before Miami, I was sure I was not going to win – I told myself it was impossible. I had a lot of pain in my knee and I hadn’t been able to train for three months. But my fans, they lifted me up with their comments and messages. They said, “For us, you’re the best female freestyler. You’re going to win again.” And I won! So I want to thank them all, very much, for their support.
Courtesy of Red Bull via Pitch