Meet Soccer Freestyler Lia Lewis
To celebrate the launch of our collab with Lotto, we caught up with soccer freestyler and dancer Lia Lewis. We asked her all about her career, her fave Lotto looks and more.
Do you think your dance skills give you an advantage when performing soccer tricks?
I think the good flexibility I get through dancing definitely helps me with certain tricks, especially acrobatic tricks. I guess being a dancer makes freestyle look a little more graceful, too. But freestyle soccer and dance are two very different sports. In dance you mainly use your upper body; in freestyle you use your feet.
When did you realise you had a talent for soccer tricks? And what made you pursue it as a career?
Honestly, I believed I had freestyle talent from the very first day I started, because my friend who coached me always told me how amazing I was and how fast I was learning. So even though I was probably terrible at first, my friend made me believe that I was good – which pushed me to train every day and improve. I don’t believe you need to have a particular "talent" for freestyle soccer to be good. I think it’s all about self-belief, perseverance, motivation and passion. Anyone can learn freestyle soccer!
What does your typical day look like? How do you train for your performances?
Besides being a professional freestyler and dancer, I also work full time in a children’s fitness center. So my typical day would be going to work at 7:30am, finishing at 6:30pm and freestyling in the gym until 10pm. Sometimes I alternate with taking dance classes instead of freestyle training, depending on how I feel. When I have a performance coming up, I switch my training session to what I need most. I focus on all-around training instead of just one style, so I can perform a wide variety of tricks.
What has been your greatest success/most exciting performance to date?
My greatest freestyle achievement would be having had the courage to pick up a ball at the age of 21 and put my 18 years of dance experience to one side. My most exciting performance was probably performing at Wembley stadium in London for the sold-out women’s England vs Germany game in 2019!
Do you have any signature tricks?
My signature trick is the L-wheel (a one-handed cartwheel with the ball).
What advice would you give to beginners, especially female, wanting to get into freestyle soccer?
My advice to anyone wanting to start would be: don’t be scared of being a beginner. People say life is too short – but actually, life is really long. Take your time, enjoy learning new skills and challenging yourself. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, and be selfish for once! With freestyle soccer you're in charge: there’s no right or wrong.
Do gender stereotypes still exist in the freestyle soccer world? If so, how do you deal with them?
I do believe gender stereotyping still exists – more around the soccer side of it, because freestyle is a new sport and not many people know about it or understand it. To me, freestyle soccer feels like more of a community where gender doesn’t matter. Maybe I’m naive, or just too busy to worry about other people’s opinions of me doing tricks with a soccer ball. I've never considered myself different because I’m a girl: I only think about training hard and continuing to push my level to a higher standard. Both men and women have equal abilities in freestyle – they don't worry about one being better than the other.
What do you think of the Lotto X Primark collection?
I like the brightness of the Lotto X Primark looks. I think they're daring and bold!
What are the perfect clothes for you to wear when doing your tricks?
Usually when I freestyle I train with a grip ball, so I can wear leggings or joggers. If I alternate with a game ball, then I have to wear shorts and a tight fitting top. I try to avoid high socks and I prefer a bun instead of a ponytail, so my hair doesn’t whip in my face.
Do you have a fave item from the collection?
I like the head to toe pink look. I'm all about the flashy colors!
If you could only dance or do soccer tricks for the rest of your life, which one would you pick?
I'd combine freestyle with dance...