Ali Raza, Age 19, from Pakistan
Before starting freestyle, I was into normal football for about 9-10 years. I started street football at the age of 8. Used to spent hours and hours playing in the streets. I didn’t know anything about freestyle but I loved juggling the ball right from the beginning.
At 11 I started playing football for my local team. At the age of 12 my juggling record was at 500+. I also played on college level and for semi pro teams in my city. When I used to play football, my biggest dream was to become a professional footballer.
When I was 17 I got offered a big chance! A top club of Pakistan Premier League said that they’ll give me chance of trails for their U-19 team. Unfortunately just a week before trails, they cancelled it saying that our football federation is in a crisis and that they won’t be taking any trails this year. But this didn’t happen only once or twice. I happened three consecutive times. No professional club took trails because of this football federation crisis.
Finally at the age of 18, I decided to give up on trying to become a pro footballer and went on playing just for fun. At that time I could already do two freestyle tricks, Crossover and Neckstall. In my country nobody knew what freestyle was because people here used to consider juggling already as freestyle. When I was searching for a tutorial on how to do an Around The World I came across videos of Palle. Watching his tutorials I became interested, especially when I saw him perform Tatw. After doing more research about freestyle, I discovered the Youtube channel Learn2Freestyle. Macca’s tutorials helped me the most in getting the basics down. Through various other channels and facebook pages I learned about proper freestyle. I remember landing my first ATW four days after I started and my first two rev (latw) after one and a half months.
Until now I’ve been freestyling for almost 1.5 years. Inspired by my freestyle idol Szymon Skalski, I practice allround skills. I’m happy I found something cooler through which I can make people smile and feel amazed – expressing myself in a better way. More important, it is fun! It’s liberation from problems and something that makes me happy. Through freestyle I got to know amazing people from all over the world and people who motivate me reaching my goals in my freestyle career.
When I look back on my normal football days I remember this quote:
„Maybe you’ll lose something good, but surely you’ll gain something better.“
I couldn’t make it into pro football, but I surely will make it to a high level in freestyle. FREESTYLE IS MY LOVE!