Born in Paris, France, Lisa Zimouche, also known as Lisafreestyle, began playing soccer as a child and has garnered international attention for her outlandish and borderline abrasive skill set.
At the tender age of 18, Lisa has accumulated over eight hundred and eighty-five thousand followers on Instagram. All because of what she can do with a ball and a beat.
She played in Paris Saint Germain youth teams until the age of 10 when she decided to focus on freestyle and street soccer.
“I felt free,” Lisa said in the back room of the soccerloco in Mission Viejo, California when asked what prompted the move away from formal football. “I just need a ball and I can dance. I don’t need a team, I don’t need a coach. I can express myself the way I want.”
Bold words from a girl whose soccer idols are Lionel Messi and Marco Verratti. Like her idols, Lisa pulls at the strings of our hearts when she touches a ball, and like her idols Lisa has demonstrated her elite skill when in 2014 she was named the World Female Panna Champion.
— Street Style Society (@S3society) December 21, 2014
The term Panna originated in the Netherlands and doubles as slang for ‘gate’ or ‘being megged’ which really just means putting the ball between your opponents legs.
“I won a competition in Rotterdam in the Netherlands,” explained Lisa. “The goal is to panna someone, and the one who is panna’d loses. That type of competition helped a lot to develop my skill. Even though I was small and skinny I panna’d them all.”
Like many other 18 year olds, Lisa is familiar with the latest lingo. “Netflix and chill” is how she describes spending her time when removed from the spotlight where she commands awe with her flashy tricks and touches. Those times are few and far between though for a girl who found her passion at an early age and has never looked back.
“I used to be a soccer player. I started when I was 7 years old and then I moved to freestyle at 10 and I stopped football and started focusing on freestyle and school. Everyday. Just freestyle and freestyle and freestyle.”
That obsession translated into opportunity when Puma came knocking with a sponsorship offer. Puma has long cultivated a reputation for being different. For embracing the strengths and eccentricities of the individuals who relate to the brand and empowering those individuals to take the world by storm.
“I’m a street player and I mix street soccer and my lifestyle and for me, Puma is the best to do it with. They are doing good work with me. They know I love playing football, freestyle, street soccer. And they know I love listening to music and they have a nice blend of that feeling. They let me do whatever I want so I just love working with Puma. They are good people. I love the way they treat me.”
Citing Beyoncé as a major influence on her, Lisa has learned the art of the performance from one of the all-time greats. Her flair for dramatic nutmegs and lack of regard for the dignity of her victims masks a gentler side of her personality that comes out when she speaks about her plans for the future.
“I’m just 18, I just finished school and now I just want to be freestyling all over the world. I want to put on workshops and teach young people how to love the ball. I want to develop this discipline, particularly with girls. I want more girls in this discipline of street soccer and freestyle.”
Keep an eye on Lisa Freestyle. Otherwise she might meg you.
— Lisa Zimouche (@Lisafreestyle) July 20, 2017