While it goes without saying that all the athletes in the Red Bull Street Style World Final are outstanding, here, in random order, are the top favorites for official World Championship of freestyle football in 2019.
Erlend Fagerli / Norway
At the age of 22, current Norwegian national champion Erlend Fagerli is already considered one of the all-time greats in freestyle football. In 2016 he became the first to win the “Holy Triple” of national, continental and world open championships within a single year; he stepped up to the WFFA’s No. 1 world ranking in 2017; and in 2018 he won five major tournaments, including the official World Championship at the Red Bull Street Style World Final in Poland. A triumph in Miami would make the Norwegian the first male athlete ever to win two World Final titles.
Brynjar Fagerli / Norway
One of the toughest opponents
that defending titleholder Erlend Fagerli will face is his own brother, Brynjar
Fagerli. Brynjar’s achievements include 2016 Scandinavian Champion and 2017
European Champion, as well as multiple Double Routine World Championships as a
team with Erlend. Recently, Brynjar finished second in the 2019 Norwegian
Champs in a close final battle against, you guessed it, his little bro; and his
mind-blowing inverted toe juggles were widely considered to be the best trick
of the Red Bull Street Style World Final in 2018. This is sibling rivalry in
the best sense.
Ko-suke Takahashi / Japan
Ko-suke Takahashi is a Red Bull Street Style veteran who consistently makes the top 16 in the World Final. In taking second place at the Red Bull Street Style World Final in 2016, Ko-suke gave Argentina’s Charly Iacono a battle for the ages, rocking the crowd at London’s Roundhouse, and he has also earned multiple Japanese national titles, as well as the Asian Freestyle Football Championship. With so many strong finishes under his belt, you can bet that Ko-suke is hungry to finally claim the World Championship at the showdown in Miami.
Yo Katsuyama / Japan
A perfectionist with a full
arsenal of well-rounded skills, Japan’s Yo Katsuyama first started practicing
freestyle at the age of 10. The Nagano-based athlete was runner-up for the
Asian freestyle crown in 2016 and captured his first major title the following
year, when he edged out Ko-suke Takahashi for Japan’s National Championship. Another
breakthrough came just this season, when he took the runner-up position at the Super
Ball Championship. Yo always aims to inspire others and help freestyle grow, so
expect him to electrify the crowds.
Łukasz Chwieduk “Luki” / Poland
Łukasz Chwieduk is one of the brightest stars ever to come from the freestyle powerhouse of Poland. A multi-time National Champion, European Champion and World Cup Vice-Champion, Luki is known for his upbeat attitude and is a consummate showman who feeds off audience interaction. Given his triumph in the Polish qualifier for this year’s Red Bull Street Style World Final – which delivered the highest level of overall performance across all the 2019 qualifying events – Luki is certain to bring it when he takes the spotlight in Florida.
Ricardo Chahini de Araújo “Ricardinho” / Brazil
With World, Latin American and Brazilian titles, Ricardo Chahini de Araújo, aka Ricardinho, is a perpetual favorite at high-level freestyle football contests. Ricardinho’s career achievements include the Super Ball World Open Championship and multiple South American titles. The Brazilian can take confidence from the fact that he has beaten current Red Bull Street Style champion Erlend Fagerli in a high-level battle before, and after clinching second place at the World Finals in Warsaw last year, he can practically feel his hands on the winner’s trophy.
Sebastian Ortiz “Boyka” / Colombia
Eight-time Colombian National Champion Sebastian “Boyka” Ortiz has long set the bar for freestyle athletes in his home country and Latin America. And with consistently high placements at international tournaments, including multiple F3 World Tour routine championships, he has become widely admired around the world as well. An ability to combine audacious athleticism with jaw-dropping control is one of Boyka’s hallmarks, and he stays cool under pressure, able to limit mistakes in even the toughest battles. Can he seize the moment to capture the World Championship at last?
Jesse Marlet / Netherlands
Jesse Marlet is a fast-ascending star of freestyle football. The multi-time and current Dutch Freestyle Football Champion is known for his intense work ethic, and after a breakthrough season in 2017, where he took fourth at Europeans and made the top 8 in the Super Ball World Open, he won several 2018 tournaments. Jesse is back to his winning ways in 2019 and has earned placement in the World Tour top 16 rankings. With original moves and strong lower body combinations, he could be the spoiler who upsets expectations among the more established names in the World Final.
Any one of the eight contenders for the women’s title could take it all, but two undeniable standouts in the lineup are the athletes who have clinched the last three consecutive crowns.
Agnieszka Mnich “Aguśka” / Poland
Agnieszka Mnich is the defending Red Bull Street Style Women’s World Champion and reigning Queen of Freestyle. The humble star from Poland has accumulated a pile of wins, with career honors including a pair of European titles and multiple Polish National Championships as well as victories in a range of top-level international contests. Creativity, control, execution, difficulty, variety… Aguśka has it all and just keeps improving. She’ll be looking to become only the third athlete in history to claim back-to-back Red Bull Street Style crowns.
Mélody Donchet “Mélo” / France
Quite simply, Mélody Donchet is a freestyle football legend. She is the only woman to have won all three major titles in freestyle football, and altogether she has collected four world titles. Among them, Mélo clinched back-to-back Red Bull Street Style World Championships (2014, 2016), making her just the second athlete, male or female, to capture two World Final wins. A knee sprain had Mélo on crutches a few months ago, but she’s back in action; and with her experience, control and flow, she’ll make the most of her chance to regain the throne in Miami.
Not to be forgotten are the home heroes at the first World Final ever to be held in North America.
At just 16 years of age, high
school junior Patrick “Pat” Shaw of Maine is the US Men’s Freestyle
Champion for 2019 and has already earned a top 25 Super Ball ranking.
California’s Caitlyn Schrepfer, 23, is not only the USA’s top female freestyler but has also been ranked as high as second worldwide. Her signature “catwalk” trick was inspired by her background in gymnastics.
For the full Red Bull Street Style World Final lineup, see: https://www.redbullstreetstyle.com/athletes