The old song goes that video killed the radio star, but now it seems that there are thousands of YouTube upstarts queuing up ready to put the hatchet into them all by taking over the world with their slick online productions.
At 5-a-side.com we’re proud to have bagged an exclusive first online interview with Joe Smith and his Flow in Football skill videos which are set to make him a sensation on the ‘tube.
In the first two months of posting his videos online, he’s already had over seven thousand views – and that’s with only nine released.
We interviewed the man and found that not only has he got a trick or two to show us for 5-a-side, he’s also a great guy as well with some good views on player development.
Q: So, Joe, tell us about your football background
I grew up on a council estate in Grahame Park, north west London, which is where I began my footballing journey.
I was always the youngest and was constantly playing with and against older kids. We’d play from the moment it was light until it was dark. Looking back I don’t think there was a better footballing environment! There were always small sided games, which of course meant that you got loads of touches and there were always new skills being tried!
We were just having fun, but in the process it turned out to be a breeding ground for a lot of talent. There always seemed to be scouts either at my games or getting in contact and I played at a number of academies in London. I was at West Ham, Crystal Palace and also Fulham, where I played with Kurtice Herbert who now plays for top 5-a-side outfit IFC (see here for a 5-a-side.com feature on IFC) and now represents England at 6-a-side. More recently, my coach at Fulham, Paul Clement, was made assistant manager at Real Madrid.
I was very lucky during my trial stints. I also played for a local team called I.F.A who were the first of its kind who would play against academies and often outplay them. We went on tours to Italy and around Europe which certainly shaped my game. A lot of the players in that have gone on to forge a career for themselves at a professional level.
At 18 I went over to France to play for a very short while and found the whole game very similar to England, not as skillful as I expected, and the same when I went to Norway where it was very explosive and powerful.
Q: What inspired you to start making videos?
To be totally honest the videos were a fluke. I just wanted them to go onto my website as something as a fun feature but as time went on through editing we realised the videos could really inspire. I’ve always wanted players I’ve coached or played with to be expressive and hopefully the videos will show that.
Q: What’s your favorite 5-a-side skill?
5-a-side football is my favourite type of football and I would have to say most suited to my game. My favourite skill is the fives backwards drag back which I recently put on my You Tube channel. It Is very effective and can take players out of the game. The other is the Riquelme roll which is on my channel it’s very simple but always seems to work. I like it because when it comes off it is a very nice nutmeg.
You can see it here:
Q: Have you got any tips for 5-a-side/ futsal players?
My tips for any aspiring 5-a-side or futsal players is try your skills or practice with a smaller ball where possible. If you can manipulate a size 2 or 3 football, then when you come to playing with a larger size it will be easy. Also just enjoy it. Get loads of touches on the ball and try things!
Q: The Smith Flick is amazing (we had to watch it a couple of times!), but can it really work in a game?!
The Smith flick is one of those skills where, if it comes off , it looks spectacular and people ask how have you done it. If it doesn’t, you get those looks like ‘what is this guy playing at?’ It’s best suited to 5-a-side and futsal and certainly worth trying in a game.
Q: You’ve named one of your skills the Kilkenny flickover and another the Tracy backheel. Who are these guys?!
The two skills I’m most proud of our Kilkenny Flick Over and Tracy Backheel (videos just below). Neil Kilkenny now of Bristol city was a player I watched and admired. He played with the same borough as me, Barnet schools, but was two years older. He was also at Arsenal. He would do things on the pitch that were a revelation. He tailored his game when he became a professional but when he was a younger player he would do stuff Ronaldhino would’ve stolen.
Liam Tracy inspired the Tracy Backheel he was the best player I’ve played with in terms of abilty and talent. It’s a complete tragedy he’s not a professional footballer. I’m convinced if he was born in Spain he would have been. He would do things I’ve not seen to this day. He was 3 years older than me and we would often practise together and play 5-a-side tournaments. He would single handedly win games on his own.
Q: What are the plans for Flow in Football for the future?
I’m really hoping to go around the world with flow in football. I want to inspire as many players as I can. I’m a massive believer in street football and believe its the foundation for expressive, creative football – something very close to my heart. I also have a few charity challenges ahead as I’m a massive supporter of MIND, the mental health organisation.
Q: Have you got any advice for coaches trying to teach skills, and for players trying to learn them?
My advice to coaches is: try to be patient with your creative talent. Nurture it and let them grow. Kids will always try to be expressive but I find it’s coached out of young players by their teens. But why? We marvel over Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar and say why don’t England produce these players. The fact is they are there – I’ve grown up with skilful players yet in an 11aside it’s masked by organisation and winning by all costs. That is why I love 5-a-side.
My advice to young players trying to learn new skills is to just enjoy the ball. Keep practising and try it in a game. If it doesn’t work, who cares – try it again until it does and get out playing 5-a-side.
A personal thanks to Joe for this interview and all the best from 5-a-side.com in what will surely be a promising venture with Flow in Football!
Other articles you might enjoy:
The Two Touch Dribble – Become a master of the dribble, with this move made famous by Brian Laudrup.
The Dummy Pass or Shot – An essential skill for 5-a-side. Unbalance opponents and create space.