Meet India's record-breaking freestyle footballer Archis Patil
For 24-year-old Archis Patil, freestyle football is more than just a passion as he has already broken two world records and become an inspiration for budding freestyle footballers in India. Popularly known as ‘Archis Crispy’, the Mumbai-based lad played for Mumbai FC and Air India at under-19 level and even represented India in two popular world youth tournaments – Gotha Cup in Sweden and Dana Cup in Denmark.
Due to injuries Archis had to leave professional football but took freestyle football very seriously after being introduced to it while representing India in the Gotha Cup. He participated in the Red Bull Street Style freestyle competition in 2008 and hasn’t looked back since.
“When I went to Sweden to represent India I saw people doing tricks with the football which I thought I could easily do as I was a footballer but I failed miserably. For me football and football freestyle are two different sports. I came back to India and started watching videos of football freestylers on Youtube and tried learning tricks. As time passed I became good at it and started making my own tricks and combos,” Archis stated during an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda.
Besides being a freestyle footballer, Archis also has a diploma in mechanical engineering and is a celebrity freestyle choreographer. He was also part of break-dancing crew Fictitious that reached the final of India’s Got Talent 2010.
“It’s pretty obvious that you need to be versatile with a high level of expertise to have a stable job. Freestyle football is something which is out of the block. Anything can be sustainable if you market it well. For me I am a performer and a freestyler. I take them as two different things. When I perform freestyle football my trick sets are different which the public can understand and when I freestyle it’s mainly about hardcore tricks and transitions which freestylers understand.
“I have learnt a lot of things from the places I have travelled and the professionals I have met. Freestyle can be a full time job if you respect the sport. Normally people do it for fun and it’s just their passion and not a dream. You have to stand for it and it will help u progress,” Archis opined.
The two world records that he holds are i) Guinness World Record Holder for India for the most shoulder spin rolls in a minute; he completed 63 rolls in 60 seconds creating a world record in 2011 and ii) Limca Book of World Records for the most number of consecutive side head stalls in 60 seconds. He completed 96 side head stalls in 60 seconds in 2012.
Archis is eyeing more records in the future but his freestyling is not only limited to personal milestones as he has even done movies, ad films and international advertisements. One such major project was choreographing a football freestyle battle cameo in the Bollywood movie ABCD.
Besides all those commercial ventures, Archis also performs to raise money for NGOs.
“I get satisfied when I make people happy and people respect my skills. When you help someone it’s the best thing that you can ever do. I want people to learn this art and make money through it as well,” he said.
Archis is a fan of Barcelona but follows Indian football also with Mumbai-born winger Steven Dias being his favourite Indian footballer. But what about his role model from the world of freestyle football?
“Palle from Sweden is my role model. He is one of the first freestylers who changed the way of freestyling by thinking out of the box. He did a lot of tricks and combos which were unimaginable,” he revealed.
Freestyle football has grown a lot in India since that first competition where Archis participated six years ago and he has certainly contributed in its growth. He intends to see more professional freestyle footballers in the country and had some words of advice for all budding freestylers.
“Train hard and be positive. Opportunities won’t come knocking at your door. When you will be good enough you will have to break the door and get the opportunities. Remember someone somewhere is practising harder than you. So start practising,” he concluded.
For more information, videos, photos of Archis, check out his website.