In my country, we grew up playing football in the street.
God gave us this talent and football brings a lot of joyto these people.
We choose football.
I’m Gundeep, I’m an ex youth worker, and I started The Last Stand.
The Last Stand is a street footballtournament that unites communities, using the power of footballto inspire young people from challenging backgrounds.
Everyone needs that spotlight, that platform to show what they can do.
When people havethat sense of achievement, it’s a domino effectto achieve greater things.
We need to grow, we need to be bigger, take it to the levelwhere we kind of dream or aspire to be.
I’m about to visit Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin to meet some street football legends, people that have had real impactin their own communities.
And to be honest, I think street footballis on the rise in the UK and I’m hoping meeting the peoplethat started and shaped the movement will give me some amazing insightsto take back home.
The thing on the street isyou’ll run into all types of people.
Some confront you with aggression.
How will you react? But the ball makes it a game.
80% of playersstarted with street football.
It’s the DNA of football.
Everything I have achieved started with me picking up a ball and playing on the streets.
I can’t imagine a lifewithout street football.
It has developed a life of its own.
Amsterdam culture, you havethe real Dutch Amsterdam culture, then you haveto take into account influence from Suriname, Morocco and Turkey.
If you talk about street soccer, nameslike akka or panna are Surinamese words.
Amsterdam had a lot of street footballers.
I started filming a lot of these guys.
Today, you can call it influencer.
Back then, it was blogging.
The exposure it gave those kidsmade them believe, “My talent has purpose, ” you know, “I can achieve something with it.
” If you don’t have a goal in life, troubles begin.
Once I started playing street footballand I saw I had a future in it, I suddenly had a goal, and that made a big difference.
So I changed my life.
I stopped doing crime.
And I started playing on the streets moreoften, tried to help out other people.
When people see you putting in effort, they want to help you.
Edward Van Gils, when I first saw him, I was like, “OK, he’s the guy who breaks legs.
” Everybody there was like, “Whoa, this dude is crazy!” -You want a spicy one or the mild?-Which one is good? They’re both good, man.
To start, the whole panna thing, why did it get so big? It has to do with Jermaine Vanenburg.
Now, Jermaine Vanenburgwas a nephew of Gerald Vanenburg, who played with Cruyff together, so the name Vanenburgwas already associated with skills.
This guy created a gameof nutmegging people, scoring goals, winning tournaments, and he fascinated everyone with it.
I invented the panna knockout game.
And a panna is a word from Suriname.
If you have a panna, the real panna knockout is playinga ball between a player’s legs and you’ve got to have the ball.
Street football, the first stage, coming to a new country, is the street.
By the people, for the people.
I play futsal, I play panna, I play street soccer.
Everything to do with football, I dig.
All I need is a ball.
We are the first in Germany to try to get young peopleinto street football.
We try to be these role modelsin terms of street football, so they can see what is possible.
I’m from Libya originally.
Because there was a war going on in Libya, I decided to leave.
If I had stayed any longer, I would be dead.
I just looked for people on the street.
Sometimes I would just ask them, “Who is the best player?” “This guy, this guy!” Then I told him “Ok, if you beat me, I’ll give you 50 Euros.
” No-one has ever managed to nutmeg me.
The fact that a lot of street footballers are from an immigrant backgroundis noticeable in the sense that anybody with a differentorigin offers a different perspective.
It’s interesting to see how that leadsto new styles and skills.
If it has an influence, it’s a positive one.
Go to Neukölln, Kreuzberg, Wedding or to a street pitch anywhere in Berlinwith a ball and you will see many differentnationalities playing with each other without speaking the same language.
Football is a universal language, definitely.
I don’t speak a single word of French, neither do these kidsspeak a word of English.
We’ve been able to communicateand it’s breaking the barrier down.
Can I be on your team? The way Paris is built, you’ve got one big stadiumin each entrance into Paris.
And in each neighbourhood, whether it’s the suburbs or Paris, you have a city stadiumby council estates.
The real teams come from the suburbs.
There are teamsin departments 93, 77, 78, 91, 92.
I guess street players, everyone’s dreamis to play.
But let’s imagine, in street football, if you could have stadiums and you could have the money, the fame, the cars, the glory.
-They will never play 11.
You know, that’s what I think, because street football is free.
No-one is telling you what to do.
The fact that you have players like Mbappéand others like Mahrez who go back to the pitches in theirneighbourhoods is super important, because you must never forgetwhere you’re from.
“I started where you are nowand look at where you can end up.
” My name is Ferhat.
I’m the technical directorof a football club, Paris Alesia, which is here, where I’m in charge of 800 membersand 60 instructors.
Why is it importantto invest in young people? Quite simply becausethey’re the citizens of tomorrow.
Each boy that we train todayis the man of tomorrow.
If we teach him good values, a good education through sport, he can only become a good person.
So for kids who have maybelost their bearings, who have social problems at home, etc, it becomes the placewhere they take their first steps, and as a consequence, street football is where they start.
Children have a lot of peer pressure.
They’ve got more problemsthan we can think of.
Once you pick up the ball, your mind isfree, you don’t think about your troubles.
Creating that environmentfor children is important.
What we used to do is find pitcheswithin apartment buildings.
So when we started playingand put on the music, everybody was sitting on balconies, barbecuing, and they were looking downand we had our own stadium.
It’s at the heart, in the heart of the neighbourhood, it’s a meeting place, it’s a football pitch.
Everything happens on the pitch.
Street soccer is all we have in Libya.
we made our goalsout of a little bit of wood, stones, car tyres, whatever.
All the cages you see were built after thestreet players created this whole scene.
They started building things like this forkids.
“They like cages? We build cages.
” I feel at home here.
I might not be born here, but Berlin is a huge part of me.
“Ich bin ein Berliner.
The score will be important, but if we play ten times, we will no longer remember scores.
We’ll forget about the score.
However, all the moves that happenedduring the ten matches, no-one will forget.
When I was nine, ten, I was bouncing theball off the wall with tears in my eyes because of things at home, and now I’m on top of the world.
It’s amazing what’s happeningin Amsterdam, Berlin and Paris.
Groundbreakers like Ferhat, Team Chameleons, Jermaine, Edward Van Gils and Ahmed, they’re pushing the sport into new spaces, pushing the boundaries, and it makes you say, “You know what?I want to be part of this scene.
” It’s made me realise why I startedThe Last Stand in the first place.
It’s to bring joy back to people’s life.
You don’t need to be something special, but you can become special on the pitch.
That’s the magic of street football.
For the players.