Inside Lancashire Sport
Keeping uppie with Freestyling World Champ
A promising footballer for PNE at 14, John Farnworth gave football the boot to take up Freestyle Football. It certainly paid off...he has since won both the World Freestyle Championships and the European Championships.
Farnworth, from Longridge, talks about life as a freestyler, showboating and his beloved Preston...
You started off as a footballer…do you ever wish you had stuck with playing football?
No, I never wish I was a footballer. I enjoy Football Freestyle so much and it is a passion and a living not just a job for me. I am an obsessive person and it is Freestyle that drives me!
When you first started you joined a Brazilian Soccer School. Why?
I joined a Brazilian Soccer School in Manchester because I was tired of regular football as I found it boring. The school introduced me to Freestyle and I have never looked back! They also teach football but it is with a smaller heavier ball so that it is much harder so it relies on control and skill and you develop your skills so much faster!
Who has inspired you?
I take inspiration from many people. My grandad as he is an inspiration in life as for what he achieved as a teacher and the way he treats life. One of my biggest heroes is Bruce Lee for the way that he trained and brought Martial Arts to the masses, also that he has left a legacy that is still felt today. Other people who have inspired me by what they have achieved are, Muhammed Ali, Tony Hawk (Skate boarder) Francis Brunn (Juggler) Eric Cantona, Mr Woo and the film Rocky!
Did you feel guilty that you beat your idol Mr Woo when you won the World Championships?
Ha Ha! No, I was really happy because he was my inspiration to start Freestyle and he is a very big name in Freestyle. This gave me a platform and more confidence that I could achieve what I am setting out to do.
As well the World and European title...you hold the Around the World Moves world record. Can you explain what that entails?
It is a freestyle move called Around the World (ATW) where the foot kicks the ball then goes over the ball and continues with the same foot! It is a very popular move in Freestyle and the record for this is the amount of repetitions of the move done in 60 seconds. I have the current record for this which is 83 in the time period.
You’ve a busy schedule…is being a freestyler a good life?
It's great! It can be tiring on my body sometimes but I am doing what I love and know how lucky I am to be doing this. It's amazing that I can perform moves with a ball all over the world and it gives me great satisfaction. It's so hard to explain but this is my passion!
Perks of the job?
Performing in front of big crowds is great and also being able to travel the world is pretty cool!
The hardest thing about freestyling…
Taking practice to a performance or competition situation where there is an audience.
Is Freestyle Football recognized as a sport?
It is not recognized as a sport yet but I believe that it will within the next five years as it takes time.
Do you watch your diet?
Yes, I don’t have a specific diet but I always try to eat healthy as I always need energy. I eat a lot or carbohydrates as they enable me to train and perform the way that I want.
How much training is involved?
Personally, I train about 40 hours a week. On a training day I will rarely do less than 6 hours practice. I'm not sure what other Freestylers do but this is the way I train!
Playing careers are quite short – will you have more of a ‘shelf life’ as a freestyler?
As a freestyler you are what you are and you can't fake! If you want to be good then you have to be prepared to be the best with training and dedication. I believe that I will be performing for a long time as I look after myself with the way I train and live my life. I believe if you keep developing new things then you don't have a shelf life but we will see as Freestyle is very new!
Are you as fit as pro footballers?
That is hard to say as it is a different type of Fitness. In Freestyle you have to be fit aerobically but mainly you need flexibility, balance and a lot of body strength. It football I think it is more about aerobic fitness and speed.
Which players do you admire?
In Football it would have to be Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Scholes.
Paul Scholes is really dedicated to his profession and he is humble with how he goes about it. A real professional!
Which player do you think is the best showboater?
What do you miss when you’re on the road?
I sometimes miss my friends and family but I am usually happy enough!
What do you love about your hometown...
I love being close to my family and I feel at home here as the people are so friendly. I never want to leave Preston!
last updated: 13/02/2009 at 08:39
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