Name: Skye Cowie
Position: Freestyler.

Skye is an ambitious soccer freestyler from North Carolina who hasn't let health challenges get in the way of her dreams. Skye talks to us about turning hard situations around and what her version of success is.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START SOCCER FREESTYLING?

I got into soccer through my family. My dad is a huge soccer fan and so is my grandpa - so I grew up with soccer all around me.

However, my biggest inspiration is my sister, Indi Cowie, who plays professionally. I’ve always been her No.1 fan and got to watch her progress to the top-level of the sport. Seeing her succeed always gave me such a good feeling.

When I was in middle school I had a lot of health issues. The doctors told me I shouldn’t play soccer which was really tough to hear. I tried other sports like swimming but when I saw my sister doing freestyle I figured that might be my way in.

She helped me get started and then I went off and trained on my own. I would learn a lot just by watching YouTube videos and practicing a lot.

I love being a part of this new sport. When I started freestyling there weren’t many girls who were doing it but now, only a few years later, the community is definitely growing and I feel like I’m a part of that.

WHAT DOES FREESTYLING DO FOR YOU?

My sister came up with the term “SpArt” - a combination of the words “sport” and “art” - to describe what freestyling is. You can juggle the ball and do moves but along the way you’re expressing yourself creatively by inventing new tricks and combinations of moves.

Freestyling is really important for me because I can decide when I train, how long I train for and how creative I want to be. It’s totally my own thing. It’s very freeing because it’s all on me. I make the rules.

HOW DO YOU KEEP INVENTING?

I get ideas from everywhere – YouTube videos, my sister, other freestylers – but sometimes even when you mess up a trick it could turn into something new. Sometimes I’ll be lying in bed running through combinations in my mind and I’ll have an idea of how to try moving my leg in different ways… I tend to dream about soccer a lot.

I dream about scoring winning goals all the time.

HOW DOES YOUR LIFE OFF THE PITCH AFFECT YOUR FREESTYLING?

I love to get outdoors as much as possible. I love hiking, longboarding and anything that’s freeing – it really ties in with freestyling because I get to go outdoors and clear my head.

When I train I always have headphones on so I get into a zone. Even when my sister wants to train with me I gotta tell her no – my favourite thing about freestyling is as soon as I start, my mind shuts everything else out. No matter what kind of a day I’m having, whether good or bad, freestyling takes me to a different place.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START FREESTYLING?

I have a lot of girls DM me, on Instagram and Twitter, asking how I got into it or asking for tips on how they can improve. I always tell them the same thing: there are tonnes of YouTube videos to learn from, all you really need is a ball. So get out there and start practicing!

“Once you get the basic tricks down, you can start doing combinations which are endless”.

I started with an around-the-world, some pancakes and the hoop which is the one I do on my knees – but once you have few tricks down, it’s a lot easier to start doing combinations with them. The hardest part is starting.

I don’t think I have a signature trick, I like going out and doing them all well – but mostly I want to have fun with it.

WHAT IS YOUR #SECRETWEAPON?

No matter what happens, I just keep going. No matter what hardships, losses or challenges that come my way, I’m really good at getting up and moving on. I don’t let them get to me and that’s what makes me different.

HOW DOES STORELLI GEAR HELP YOU?

I definitely think that the right apparel makes a big difference; Being comfortable means you can focus properly on doing what you need to and if it can help you avoid injuries too, that’s even better. Some injuries are preventable by staying hydrated and stretching properly. But these abrasion tights are for avoiding the unexpected injuries. They’re really flexible and comfortable and in soccer they will help you against turf burns and other cuts/bruises on the field.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A TOP-LEVEL ATHLETE?

I think that it takes a lot of dedication and the ability to pick yourself up whenever something sets you back. You can’t get discouraged when challenges come your way, because they will. You have to keep going!

The thing with freestyling is that you can do it all yourself. It’s not a costly thing to get into, so that means that anyone from any background can freestyle. All you really need is a ball and some creativity. The rest of it is all hard work and dedication.

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