Street soccer has been the popular game of the kids in Europe and South America. It develops skills, cognition, competence and character simultaneously. Unfortunately, it is not very popular in the USA where kids play soccer only through team training and team games.
Everything for me started in the street. The area where I lived was nicknamed the ‘Concrete Village’, an experiment in building cheap housing after the First World War. It was working class, and as kids we spent as much time out of the house as possible; from as early as I can remember we played football everywhere we could. It was here I learned to think about how to turn a disadvantage into an advantage.
You see that the kerb isn’t actually an obstacle, but that you can turn it into a teammate for a one–two. So thanks to the kerb I was able to work on my technique. When the ball bounces off different surfaces at odd angles, you have to adjust in an instant.
Throughout my career people would often be surprised that I shot or passed from an angle they weren’t expecting, but that’s because of how I grew up.
The same thing is true of balancing. When you fall on the concrete, it hurts, and, of course, you don’t want to get hurt. So when playing football, you’re also busy trying not to fall.
Episkyros’ plan includes an effort to reproduce this experience. It will organize events to simulate street soccer for the players.