Big news on the freestyle football scene: Round 1 of the Women’s Qualifier for the Red Bull Street Style World Final 2019 is complete, and 14 top female athletes are one step closer to their dream of capturing the sport’s official World Championship on 14-15 November, when the final battles for both men and women will thrill crowds in Miami, Florida, USA. To get there, the 14 female rivals – who come from China, Finland, France, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Venezuela and the USA – will have to survive the fierce head-to-heads of Qualifier Round 2.
The five Round 1 judges, each one a freestyle football (soccer) professional appointed by the WFFA, had their work cut out for them as they reviewed the 90-second routines submitted on video by 31 athletes from five continents. Because Red Bull Street Style aims to find the world’s best overall freestyle football player, thejudges were looking for athletes who demonstrated a strong combination of three aspects: creativity/variety, control/technical, and style/energy and rhythm.
The judges’ rankings for Round 1 of the Red Bull Street Style Women’s Qualifier are:
1. Mélody Donchet (FRA), 2. Laura Dekker (Netherlands), 3. Kalina Matysiak (Poland),
4. Jasmijn Janssen (Netherlands), 5. Lucia Kevická (Slovakia), 6. Fernanda Méndez (Mexico), 7. Caitlyn Schrepfer (USA), 8. Anastasia Bagaglini (Italy), 9. Laura Biondo (Venezuela), 10. Alice Fougeray (France), 11. Yoanna Dallier (France), 12. Liu Dawnorus (China), 13. Żaneta Cygora (Poland), 14. Minna Marlo (Finland).
The lineup is impressive, with national, European and world title-winners. And it’s no surprise that the woman on top is legendary for her overall mastery: Donchet won two Red Bull Street Style crowns (2014, 2016) before Poland’s Aguska Mnich seized the trophy in 2018. As the reigning titleholder, Mnich already has a berth in the World Finals, and Donchet’s advancement to Round 2 will have fans salivating at the prospect of a showdown betweenthe two champions in November.
First, Donchet must sustain her brilliance through Round 2, a series of online battles that will work just like the live faceoffs to come on the Miami stage. One player will email a video of her first 30-second round to her opponent. The opponent will then reply with her own 30-second first round. The back-and-forth will continue for three rounds, and then a WFFA battle supervisor will combine the rounds and send them to the judges, who will decide and announce the winner.
The Round 2 matchups are determined according to the Round 1 rankings: the freestyler who ranked first will battle the contender who was 14th, second place goes up against 13th, and so on. On that basis, the Round 2 pairings are:
Minna Marlo (Finland) vs. Mélody Donchet (France)
Żaneta Cygora (Poland) vs. Laura Dekker (Netherlands)
Liu Dawnorus (China) vs. Kalina Matysiak (Poland)
Yoanna Dallier (France) vs. Jasmijn Janssen (Netherlands)
Alice Fougeray (France) vs. Lucia Kevická (Slovakia)
Laura Biondo (Venezuela) vs. Fernanda Méndez (Mexico)
Anastasia Bagaglini (Italy) vs. Caitlyn Schrepfer (USA)
The online battles will proceed through August, with the seven winners advancing to join Mnich at the World Final. Daniel Rooseboom, the Sporting Director and Head Judge of Red Bull Street Style, says, "I am really excited. The level of these athletes is super-high and very similar across the board, so anything can happen!”
Keep up to date at redbullstreetstyle.com and on WFFA social channels, and be sure to check in when the winners of the women’s Round 2 Qualifier are announced on 20 August 2019.
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Red Bull Street Style: www.redbullstreetstyle.com
World Freestyle Football Association: www.thewffa.org
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