Two Irish representatives selected for Euro 2020 Freestylers squad
The official UEFA EURO 2020 Freestylers squad has been confirmed, with fans selecting two representatives in each of the 12 host nations through the Your Move competition.
Ella Steele and Sam Madden were chosen as the Dublin representatives.
Fans voted for their favourite freestyle footballers in the online talent competition launched to unearth the most original and expressive freestylers across Europe.
"Freestyling is whatever you wish to make of it. There are no limits just endless possibilities of combinations. It can be a good distraction too, keeping you entirely in the moment," explained Steele.
"For me, freestyle football is the most enjoyable form of exercise around. I am really motivated by the constant sense of progression and the learning of new skills," said Madden.
Hundreds of entrants submitted videos of their skills in a bid to represent their nation at the 60th anniversary EURO, and they were whittled down to a shortlist for each venue by two of the biggest names in the freestyle world: former world champion Liv Cooke, from England, and Tobias Becs, the former European champion from Norway.
Fans checked out the shortlisted videos and chose their winners, with two freestylers elected to represent each host nation. Those 24 freestylers will join the official the UEFA EURO 2020 mascot, Skillzy, in appearances throughout the build-up to the tournament and the competition itself, including at matches, in fan zones and during the official trophy tour.
Becs, 27, a multiple European freestyle champion said: "Deciding who should be on the shortlist was extremely tough –there’s just so much talent out there. Now the winners have been chosen, I can’t wait to meet everyone and share this incredible experience with them. The winners will definitely bring skill and colour to what is already the most exciting EURO tournament ever."
A four-time world freestyle record holder and UEFA Women’s Football Ambassador, 20-year-old Cooke added: "The opportunity to show off freestyling with local talent across 12 different countries is once-in-a-lifetime for me, as well as the winners. Fans will be able to see the best freestylers and street footballers Europe has to offer, whether they go to a game in Baku or Bilbao, Glasgow or Rome. It will add a whole new layer to the tournament and hopefully can inspire people to try it out themselves."
Freestyling is associated with street football, panna, and other skills-based versions of the game. It shares characteristics with dance and even rhythmic gymnastics, and is closely tied to music. Freestyling is not a game –it is an expression of creativity and an artistic performance.
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