Months of national qualifiers are now history, and the lineup for the Red Bull Street Style World Final – the official World Championship of freestyle football – is complete. Current champs looking to defend their crowns, former titleholders aiming to get back on top and surprising newcomers full of fire will all be part of the mix when the action takes center stage in Miami, USA on November 14-15. Here’s the lowdown.
The athletes who will assemble for North America’s first Red Bull Street Style World Final come from every continent except Antarctica, and the battles to achieve a spot in the ultimate showdown have been fierce. Red Bull Street Style aims to determine the best overall freestyle football (soccer) player in the world, and crowds packing national qualifier venues witnessed next-level skills as the hopefuls for the men’s championship faced off head-to-head. The format: two players, one ball, and only three minutes to prove why they belong among the stars of the sport.
Presiding over the national qualifiers were expert judges, all freestyle football pros appointed by the WFFA. “If I had to pick just a few highlights, I would have to mention the tournaments in Poland, Japan and France,” says Red Bull Street Style Sporting Director and Head Judge Daniel Rooseboom. “The atmosphere in those locations was electric and the levels were sky high.”
With the field set, among the contenders to watch in the men’s category are:
– Erlend Fagerli from Norway, the defending World Champion, and his own brother, Brynjar Fagerli. These two know each other very well, so a clash between them could be epic.
– Japanese standouts Kosuke Takahashi – a multi-time Japanese Champion and Red Bull Street Style veteran who consistently makes the top 16 in the World Final – and Yo Katsuyama, who is a Superball World Championship runner-up.
– Łukasz Chwieduk from the freestyle powerhouse of Poland. The Polish qualifier delivered the season’s highest level of performance overall, so expect Chwieduk to bring it in Miami.
– Brazil’s Ricardinho. With World, Latin American and Brazilian titles, Ricardinho is always one of the favorites, and after clinching second place at the World Finals last year, he’s hungry to finally claim the winner’s trophy.
– Boyka Ortiz of Colombia. The eight-time Colombian Champion is widely admired and inevitably among the top finishers at international tournaments. Can he seize the moment to capture the crown at last?
– A rising star from the Netherlands, Jesse Marlet. The Dutch Freestyle Football Champion is known for an intense work ethic, and his efforts are paying off; he has won several tournaments in 2018 and 2019 and could play the spoiler to take it all this November.
As previously announced, on the women’s side online qualifiers have determined the seven contenders who will join reigning World Champion Aguska Mnich of Poland on the RC Cola Plant stage in Miami. Among them: two-time titleholder Mélody Donchet of France and Laura Biondo, a Venezuelan living in Miami who will be taking part in her sixth World Final.
Plus: Not to be forgotten are the home country heroes: Patrick Shaw of Maine, who at just 16 years of age is the US Men’s Freestyle Champion for 2019, and California’s Caitlyn Schrepfer, who is not only the USA’s top female freestyler but has also been ranked as high as second worldwide. For the full Red Bull Street Style World Final lineup, see: https://www.redbullstreetstyle.com/athletes