Oct 18, 2022
What does street football mean to you and what role has it played in your life and career?
Pfff street football has been so many things in different times and different situations. At first it was just fun then it became an escape from my reality and my happy place. Now it's my way of communication, my way to travel and meet beautiful people, cultures & religions. It's become my way of paying my bills and keeping my family happy. So you could say street football is everything to me, its so much more than a sport.
“Amsterdam is where we shine” is the overarching theme of our collaboration with Ajax where in Chapter I we celebrated and spotlighted the cities street culture, community & diversity. But we can’t talk about the capitals street culture and not include the local, national & global influence of Amsterdam’s unique street football culture and its golden generation. Why do you think Amsterdam street football has been so impactful?
We literally changed football for ever, the way the ballers play, dress, talk and even act. The street football scene in Amsterdam is epic and historical like the skate scene or B-boy scene. These type of hypes change so many things on a global level that you will see the impact even years after the hype started and it infiltrates in so many aspects of street culture. We made a freaking industry out of a street sport.
Our golden jersey is inspired by the street football courts in and around Amsterdam. Which court In the city is your favourite and why?
My favourite court has to be Iepenplein, which unfortunately is not there anymore but that was a basketball court with the worst surface and in between apartment buildings in the East side of Amsterdam. I can remember seeing locals sitting on their balconies while we where playing with 100's of people watching and many teams on the sidelines waiting their turn to play. Our own version of Rucker Park ha!
What influence do you feel Ajax had on the beautiful game?
I want to turn this question around, what did street football do for Ajax? Well look at Antony Matheus dos Santos, this kid comes to Amsterdam with the dutch street way of playing, but so many Ajax players been playing street football since they where young and you see how much talent Ajax brings time and time again with that little edge called the streets!
Who is the biggest talent in the Amsterdam street football scene for you at the moment?
Womens street football often goes unnoticed and is still disproportionate in terms of the balance between male and female players, what opportunities are there for young women who are keen to play and have a safe space to unite? And what is being done to help promote women who practice this discipline?
If they are not comfortable to play with men, I suggest they make their own opportunities like we did back in the days. Just go out there organise, pick up games and just start balling. They can join the men if they want to, the scene is already there and the scene doesn't discriminate, we include. I think the promotion on women football is bigger than ever and even tops the mens promotion but do we need it? It's a sport, it's a choice. Just pick up a ball and play. Everything is there, culture and pitches.
For our readers who played FIFA street, it is likely that they'll recognise you from the popular game. How did that come about?
Well we just created Panna Knock Out and had to tour Europe to show the world how the game is played and during that time, street football was at its peak so EA sports were sitting on an idea to do this street football game. To our luck, we were in London at an Panna Knock Out event and EA was there too, they saw us, they wanted us and the rest is history!
Where do you see street football within the next 5 years?
In all honesty I would like to see it a bit more, like how it was 15 yrs ago. I really would like every baller to experience the way we experienced street football, no media or money involved just pure love for the game because out of love, the most beautiful thing will appear.
With your experience, what advice do you have for our young readers?
That whatever you do and you love make sure you get the most out of it, on any level that is. And to do so, you need to have discipline! Without discipline we are nothing, no matter how talented you are. Discipline is doing what you HATE like you LOVE it.