Professional Football-Freestyler

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UK & Ireland Champs + Superball 2016

Hey guys! These were two really awesome trips for me, although I didn't compete in either competition I just want to spread some praise for two highlights of my 2016 in which I had a lot of fun and it was so good to see everyone again. Hopefully this article does our sport (freestyle- football) justice in terms of seeing how many new freestylers there are out there and how the competitions are getting bigger and better!

UK & Ireland Champs

Firstly, I went to the UK & Ireland Freestyle Football Championships in July, this year they took place in the cultural capital of Scotland; Edinburgh.

Even though the weather may not have been the best there was still an amazing turnout and the competition made for a great spectacle which Andrew Henderson went onto win... for the 7th year in a row! The guy is absolutely incredible and it's clear to see why he is such an icon in this sport. Congratulations to him as well as to my good friend Daniel Dennehy for coming 2nd and Jamie Knight for coming 3rd.

Overall I was really impressed with the level of the freestyle scene here. Even though there were some big names missing there was still some great stuff on show and it was clear to see that everyone had been training hard for this. In addition to this it was great to see a lot of new faces like the younger generation that are coming through, they got a lot of passion for this and I'm sure many of them that I saw on this day will go far if they keep up the god work.

After the competition was done we also went for a bit of a night out and that was great fun and I really liked Edinburgh, a great energy about the place and some funny people. So good to catch up with everyone again though, like I have said in previous posts these are great friends and it's so awesome we are initially connected by just kicking a ball about essentially haha, but because of distance and stuff we don't know when we are next likely to see each other, so events like this one are extra special to me.

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💷

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Philippe Gnannt (@philippefreestyle) am

 

SUPERBALL 2016

This is arguably one of, if not the biggest events on the freestyle football calendar. The World Open Freestyle Football Championship aka 'SUPERBALL' this year lived up to all the hype and was yet another huge success I feel.

A competition that literally brings freestylers from all corners of the globe to one location is always a recipe for something special. The competition this year took place in the small city of Liberec, Czech Republic, with the final being held out in the city's main square packed out with mostly freestylers and the locals to watch some of the most incredible freestyle battles in history. Erland (Norway) eventually was crowned champion after defeating Tobias Becs (Norway) in an amazing final that certainly did not disappoint for the viewers.

So I visited again as a spectator with probably my best friend in football-freestyle Kevin Buchert from Germany who drove us down there. It was so good to see everyone and we still had the opportunity to train with them in the legendary sports hall of the Liberec Arena too.

Here are some pictures:

As always, Superball was a very enjoyable event to be a part of even if it was just spectating on this occasion and I'm going to do everything I can to attend the forthcoming one in 2017 in Prague which is going to be huge!

 

Thanks for reading,

Peace!

Vodafone | Huawei - May 2016

 

In May one of my favourite events I performed at was an event for Vodafone alongside female freestyler Adriana Orlovic.

This event once again took place in my beloved city of Berlin, the venue was actually the Stadion An der Alten Försterei which is the football stadium of German team 1. FC Union of Berlin. The main sponsors for this event were Huawei, a huge telecommunications company.

We did some performances on the stage in the actual stadium that went really well and in addition to this we were also what I call 'a walking act' where we were situated outside the ground where the majority of the Vodafone stands were for the event, people would stop and watch us for a while and we could interact with the people in between our freestyle too which is always nice. But we did get to move around to different spots and weren't just stuck in the same place all day.

One thing that I must say though is how hot it was on this day! Unbelievably high temperatures in Berlin on this day, but nonetheless we still put in a good shift and worked hard. Definitely not something I am one to complain about as I much prefer this kind of weather than the rain!

Once again a really fun day that was well received by the people watching. Me and Adriana were just kind of left to get on with our thing and it was an enjoyable time doing the thing that I love doing the most out in the sun.

Thanks again for reading,

Peace!

DFB Pokalfinale pre event - May 2016

One of the biggest sporting events on the German calendar is undoubtedly the DFB Pokalfinale (The German Football Cup) which happens each year in May.

This year I had the opportunity to be a part of the pre-match hype as I performed at an event together with female freestyler Nina Windmüller the day before the DFB Pokalfinale which this year was between the two titans of German football - Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund!

The venue was Berlin's Interconti Hotel  which is close to the heart of the city, and the match itself would be held here next day in the Olympic Stadium too so there was quite a buzz around the place already.

For me and Nina, we were entertaining some of the guests of the hotel at this event in one of the main areas, it was non-stop freestyle pretty much as well as interacting with some of the people. It was good to hear everyone's (some a little more biased than others) predictions about the forthcoming big match. Everyone really liked the freestyle and was in good sprits regardless of which football team they supported. As you'll see below I was wearing the yellow half on this occasion kitted out in 100% Borussia Dortmund!

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I need that new contract asap @bvb09 😜

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Philippe Gnannt (@philippefreestyle) am

So above is me doing my thing and demonstrating a typical 'lowers' combo. Lowers are one of my favourite aspects of freestyle, I train them often so it is nice to be able to then bring them to events such as this to try and amaze people.

And of course I couldn't not get a photo with what the guys would be playing for tomorrow; the trophy itself! It's only when you get this close to the trophy that you are able to see just how shiny it is as well as the impeccable craftsmanship on it. Fortunately I managed to get through the day without knocking it over with a football haha.

There were also some pretty big names in attendance at this event including Otto Rehhagel who is undoubtedly one of the best German football managers ever and was in charge of Greece when they pulled off their against-all-odds victory over Portugal in the Euro 2008 tournament. CEO of Dortmund Hans-Joachim Watzke attended as well as the CEO of Bayern Munich AG (a daughter company of Bayern Munich), Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who also used to play for Munich as a winger, who in particular I have to say enjoyed our tricks a lot and stayed to watch me and Nina for a while before lavishing us with praise!

Overall this was a really enjoyable event to be a part of and had made me excited for the German cup final even more after seeing how infectious the anticipation was from everyone else at the event. Whether they be a Bayern Munich supporter, a Borussia Dortmund fan or whatever, football is something that almost everyone can have an opinion on and it really does feel like football brings people together and it was a pleasure to be a part of that through freestyle.

Thanks again for reading,

Philippe

Sorø Meeting 2016 - Special - March 2016

So this year I returned to one of the biggest events on the freestyle football calendar, the Sorø Meeting!

Sorø is a tiny place in Denmark but once a year freestylers from all over of the globe travel to attend this huge meeting of lots of freestylers under the same roof. It's a time for just constant training, chilling and just generally having good times with the people we do not get the chance to see that often.

I went there with one of my best friends Kevin Buchert who is also a freestyler from Berlin, I also managed to vlog a lot of each day so I could capture the essence of the Sorø meet in all it's glory. Below you can also find each vlog (there are 4 in total from the trip) with some of the highlights from each of my days there.

So when I finally arrived there I had a blast of nostalgia as I had not been to this place in a good 4 years or so, everything looked very familiar though. It was so good to see everyone again. So in this legendary sports hall not only is it the place that we train but we also stay here as well in some of the small rooms connected to the main training space.

I had my first proper training session of the trip on the arrival day, although I was not really satisfied with my freestyle on this day I was just very happy to be surrounded by all my homies and like minded people. On this day I spent a lot of time freestyling and talking to Kevin (Germany), Jaime (Spain), who is a definite contender for having the coolest tattoo ever! (check out the vlog) and also Tonic (Netherlands) who gives some good tips in the vlog for doing PATW (also known as the Triple Around The World).

 

On the second day me and Kevin got up super early while everyone was still asleep to go outside and play some football on their full size outdoor pitches. It was very cold but a fun and refreshing way to start the day!

I had the chance to meet some of the younger freestylers or the 'next generation' as some may like to call them. Aksel from Norway and Christopher from Denmark to name a couple are really pushing their own limits at such a young age and it is very motivating to see so many people get into freestyle at a younger age.

I also spoke with Gunter (Italy) who is a household name in freestyle, winning the Italian Championships 4 times and competing in countless competitions at the most elite level. He was training for like 10 hours on the first day which is just absolutely crazy!

I was also reunited with my good friend Dara Coyne all the way from Ireland (goes to show how internationally freestyling is really bringing people together to one tiny city in Denmark). As is also mentioned in the Vlog, Dara runs a very in depth and high quality YouTube channel 'Your How To Do' which features lots of tutorials on freestyle tricks and is definitely worth checking out!

Generally there was a LOT of freestyle happening in this one, you could say it was business as usual. I myself had 3 sessions in this day and was a lot more pleased with some of the combos I was able to do.

 

After another early morning start with Kevin and after breakfast I decided to take a little dip in the ice cold lake. It was so cold that it had completely frozen over (we had to break it just to get in) and I could not stay in there long but it felt invigorating and amazing nonetheless!

More freestyle sessions took place once again, probably one of the most packed occasions of the hall for freestylers and I was happy with some of the combos I managed to land. In between freestyle sessions it is cool just to be able to talk to people too, I seemed to find myself chilling a lot with the Finnish Freestylers in the rooms away from the training hall. In addition to this it was great meeting legends like PWG and Marcus Holmberg (Sweden) too. At the end of the freestyle session it was also fun to mix things up with playing a bit of football indoors.

Even though the last day had come around already everyone was in very good spirits. There was still a lot of freestyle going on. I again found myself hanging out with the Finnish guys quite a lot again including Pege who is also one of my best friends in freestyle I would say, funny guy and also king of the trick Sagami Around The World!

It was only on day 4 that I finally got a chance to meet and speak with the organisers of the whole event; Lars Munck and Simon Atli. The duo have been organising the event for the past few years and I just want to thank them once again for doing such a great job and bringing so many freestylers to the same place from many different countries, it's incredible to be a part of it. According to Munck, there are so many freestylers attending now that they are planning to move the next one to a new location which he talks about in my vlog.

Even though Sorø is a small city in Denmark that most of you probably haven't heard of, it was great to visit it again and when away from the immediate freestyle I have to acknowledge  friendly people living in the city of Sorø. I recall on one occasion when I was in the supermarket I didn't know whether there was ham in one of the pasta dishes, and one guy literally stopped what he was doing and took it to go find someone who worked there to ask him for me, incredible!

Finally, it was also really nice to see some of Copenhagen with the Finnish guys before we had to get our respective flights home, it is a really nice place I recommend visiting if you get the chance!

Overall the trip was a wonderful experience for me and again I leave with many fond memories. It is hard to put it into words how far this sport and its community has developed and to be a part of events such as this which demonstrate the amazing levels of the freestylers as well as the friendships made with these people for me is just priceless. I hope to see everyone who was there again as soon as possible!

To conclude, I think this clip below sums up the trip for me:

Thanks again for reading,

Peace!

Karstadt Sports - March 2016

In March I had the opportunity of once again performing for Adidas, this time at Karstadt Sports. What was unique about this occasion though was I was freestyling on the rooftop of their Berlin store!

Karstadt Sports - Adidas - Solestall

Kitted out in some of the latest Adidas gear (mostly from the new 'Ace' and 'X' range), I was situated in the familiar setting of a Panna Cage putting on freestyle shows throughout the day.

Karstadt Sports - Adidas - Inspiring

In addition to this, it was really cool to interact with some of the other people there, I had the chance to teach some kids some freestyle tricks at this event and it is always nice to hear the positive comments from people about the mind-blowing skills that I try to pull off! I think it is important to give back to people and I like teaching the kids freestyle tricks mostly because of their priceless reactions; at first they think it is impossible but then once you break it down for them slowly and with a little bit of patience and practice they soon realise in themselves how doable it is and for me this is such a rewarding feeling.

As always it was a very fun day working with Adidas and all the people involved, to be able to showcase my skills with people on the rooftop of a store with the sun shining down was a pretty awesome way to spend a day. Managed to get this one photo (above) near the end of the event with some of the kids and organisers, what a wonderful bunch of people to work with! I hope that the kids take their new-found skills as well and keep up the practice.  February-March has been a busy but great part of 2016 for me, and I hope to write about some of the upcoming events very soon as well as the other projects I have been working on.  Peace!

As always it was a very fun day working with Adidas and all the people involved, to be able to showcase my skills with people on the rooftop of a store with the sun shining down was a pretty awesome way to spend a day. Managed to get this one photo (above) near the end of the event with some of the kids and organisers, what a wonderful bunch of people to work with! I hope that the kids take their new-found skills as well and keep up the practice.

February-March has been a busy but great part of 2016 for me, and I hope to write about some of the upcoming events very soon as well as the other projects I have been working on.

Peace!

ATR Performance - January 2016

I had an amazing start to 2016 where one of the highlights certainly was having the pleasure of performing along side incredible freestylers Jacek, Szymon, Mikolaj, Nina and Adriana, for ATR in Berlin. Some pictures from the event can be seen below.

This was a gala event for ATR who are the leading company in the selling and repair of car parts, and just as I anticipated it was a huge turnout of people. The venue for the evening was Berlin's amazing Estrel Hotel which is the capital's biggest hotel and hosts lots of shows and entertainment type events throughout the year. 

For this event I got my own personal outfit on the day to perform in; all Adidas as always! Above is a pretty cool action shot of me just warming up alongside Adriana. Having a small room or space to ourselves to stretch and warm up with some easy tricks before performing is definitely a little thing I can appreciate, rather than just turning up and going straight into it! Taking the time to mentally prepare yourself before a performance or event I find to be incredibly advantageous, thinking about what sort of tricks you want to do but also paying attention to physically how your body is feeling that day, like if there are any particular aches to be aware of.

Of course before every performance I am happy, even if I am a little nervous it is because I really care about it and want to do an amazing performance, the best I possibly can! The photo above sums it up for me really, filled with giddy excitement once you are finished warming up and heading out to the main area.

Here we were just waiting to be called out to perform by the host speaker for the evening's event. If anything, this is always the peak of excitement or nerves for a freestyler but we were welcomed out to a great reception and the main freestyle show we all performed together was really good.

Typical reaction from people watching what we do is to pull out their phones and take pictures and record. I think judging by some people's reactions at this event this was their first time ever really seeing freestyle football so it's great to be able to show people what is really possible with afootball.

Here with Szymon (Poland) and Adriana once again. I remember we ended up showing off our tricks in so many different lighting conditions in this venue which was kind of funny for us but the main show in particular was a huge success I have to say. After the main show we later on continued to perform more freestyle tricks in a much more informal manner as a 'walk around' act of the event. It was really nice to mingle and speak to the guests there and they had a lot of nice things to say about our freestyling!

You might be thinking why would a company that deals in car parts and repairs be interested in working with football freestylers, like where's the connection?

Well the answer is simple, freestylers are a great source of entertainment! Not to be just considered as some kind of athlete that just trains very hard with a football constantly (although we do train very very hard haha), it is nice to be given a platform like these types of events to share freestyle football with others, especially with those who have not seen it before and I cannot stress how good the reception was from this one, I was smiling for a very long time after.

What was great about working with other freestylers at the ATR event is how we all were able to bring our individualities in terms of the tricks we do and our personality together. Szymon for example is a former world champion and demonstrated his crazy upper body skills while I recall doing a lot of sitting down tricks. it's almost as though each freestyler was able to bring their own 'flavour' to this event and show a wide variety of mind blowing skills.

This here is easily my favourite picture from the evening, striking one of my favourite freestyle poses here on the floor with the football on my face! As I said earlier the people who attended the gala event were super appreciative of the freestyle on display with many filming and taking photos as you can again see here from this guy.

All the great photos from this event were taken by Helge Mundt who also happens to be a good friend of mine. You can check out more of his awesome work here.

The ATR event was a huge success and hopefully I get the chance to work with some of those fantastic freestylers again soon.

Peace!