Boys playing street football in Egypt
Street pitches are common in Libya, especially near highways and flyovers
Street football in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa

Street football or street soccer is an informal variation on the game of association football, typically played in outdoor urban settings such as streets, playgrounds and car parks.[1] The term encompasses a variety of different formats, which do not necessarily follow the requirements of a formal game of football, such as a large field, field markings, goal apparatus and corner flags, eleven players per team, or match officials (referee and assistant referees). Often street football is played as a pick-up game, without fixed timing and with players joining and leaving at any point.[2][3] Many renowned professional players have learned to play football on the street, including the likes of Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff, Pelé, Giuseppe Meazza, Éamon Dunphy, Eusebio, Dejan Savićević, and Cristiano Ronaldo, among others.[4][5][6]


Street football, Venice (1960)

Street football is more similar to beach football and futsal than to association football. Often the most basic of set-ups will involve just a ball with a wall or fence used as a goal, or items such as clothing being used for goalposts[2][7] (hence the phrase "jumpers for goalposts"). The phrase was used by Ed Sheeran in his 2015 documentary Jumpers for Goalposts: Live at Wembley Stadium as a nod to playing the concerts at Wembley Stadium,[8] the "home of football."[9]

Children playing with an improvised ball in Tanzania

In some cases, a standard ball is not available and street football depends on a ball made out of garbage, such as discarded plastic.[10][11] Handwalla Bwana, describing street football in the Kakuma refugee camp said "We used to make a garbage ball. We used to go through the garbage cans and make as much soccer ball as we could" and attributed use of the garbage ball to being better with his feet.[12][13] Johan Cruyff has said "Footballers from the street are more important than trained coaches."[14]

The ease of playing these informal games on the streets and open spaces make football the most popular sport in the world.[15]

Video games

In 2005, video game publisher Electronic Arts introduced FIFA Street, a franchise based on street football and freestyle football. FIFA Street series focuses on flair, style and trickery, reflecting the cultures of street football and freestyle football played in streets and backlots across the world.

In 2019, Electronic Arts added a Volta gameplay mode to FIFA 20. It shares similarities to the FIFA Street series and has a storyline of a street football player playing through the ranks, both making new friends and losing old ones along the way.[16][17]

See also


  1. ^ cs.yothin (6 February 2023). "THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STREET FOOTBALL, FREESTYLE FOOTBALL & URBANBALL FIGHT". URBANBALL. Retrieved 17 December 2023.
  2. ^ a b Meseguer, Pedro (November 7, 2016). "El fútbol callejero" (in Spanish). Alicante: Futbol Jobs. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  3. ^ "Fútbol Callejero: Historia, trucos, jugadas y mucho más" (in Spanish). 12 January 2018. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  4. ^ Salmon, Ken (November 10, 2021). "Street soccer and the first teams of legendary players". Retrieved November 10, 2021.
  5. ^ Croke, Ruaidhrí. "Ghosts and goalposts: The soul of street football in Dublin's Gloucester Diamond". The Irish Times.
  6. ^ Vlaisavljević, Luka (16 September 2018). "Željko i Dejo dobijaju grafit tamo gdje se dribling cijeni "više od života"" (in Serbian). Vijesti. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  7. ^ Kummetz, Pablo (October 19, 2004). "Fútbol callejero para la integración social" (in Spanish). Berlin: Deutsche Welle. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  8. ^ "Watch the trailer for Ed Sheeran's exuberant concert film 'Jumpers for Goalposts'". USA Today. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  9. ^ Horne, John; Manzenreiter, Wolfram (11 January 2013). Japan, Korea and the 2002 World Cup. Routledge. ISBN 9781135140212 – via
  10. ^ Thélia, Jerome (9 June 2014). "One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Soccer Ball | Op-Docs | The New York Times". YouTube. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  11. ^ Berlin, Jeremy; Hilltout, Jessica (2013-02-01). "Joy Is Round". National Geographic Magazine. Archived from the original on October 26, 2020. Retrieved 2020-10-23.
  12. ^ Pentz, Matt (28 October 2016). "Handwalla Bwana could be the next Seattle soccer star. But first he must conquer his American Dream". Seattle Times.
  13. ^ "New Homegrown Player Handwalla Bwana sits down for first interview". Sounders FC. 12 January 2018. 2 minutes 44 seconds. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  14. ^ "Welcome to News - They said It: Johan Cruyff -". Archived from the original on May 30, 2020. Retrieved 2020-10-23.
  15. ^ "Street Soccer" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 15, 2017. Retrieved April 21, 2019. Soccer is the undisputed # 1 game in the world and the primary way kids around the world developed their ball skills was through "street soccer". World-class players came out of this environment.
  16. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (8 June 2019). "Confirmed: FIFA 20 has a FIFA Street mode called Volta Football". Eurogamer. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  17. ^ Horti, Samuel (8 June 2019). "FIFA 20 has a FIFA Street-style mode called Volta, EA confirms". PC Gamer. Retrieved 4 November 2020.