FRENCH FREESTYLER DOCHET WOWS CROWDS
Scores of local fans flock to watch soccer master’s performance in Liaoning
As world freestyle soccer champion Meloday Dochet made her Shenyang debut in March, audiences were left stunned by her footwork.
The 27-year-old from France dovetailed her ball skills with hip-hop dances, sending the crowds wild.
Different from competitive soccer, freestyle soccer is a trendy art sport combining a variety of elements, such as street dances, ball skills and music, which enjoys popularity with different age groups. Performers show various tricks, including keepie-uppies with different parts of their bodies.
When Dochet performed at a shopping mall in the capital of Liaoning province in Northeast China, an audience of thousands of local residents burst into applause.
During her weeklong stay in the city, she also visited a soccer museum and coached local teenagers in freestyle soccer.
Soccer professionals and promotions are key to Shenyang’s goal of building itself into a soccer capital, Dochet told local media in an interview.
She said she hopes her involvement will encourage more children to love soccer, which helps to increase physical and psychological strength.
Li Yingfa, honorary president of the Liaoning Soccer Development Promotion Association, said: “The development of China’s soccer industry is dependent on related training and education.
“The French practice of integrating technology and education into the soccer sector is, in my opinion, quite good,” he said. “I hope Chinese children can enjoy soccer games.”
Born in 1990, Dochet has won world championships four times over the past four years, including the 2014 Street Style World Championship and the women’s title during the Red Bull Street Style World Final in the United Kingdom in 2016.
She started training at the age of 5 and joined the ranks of the top 16 female soccer players in France in 2006, competing for the French national women’s soccer federation tournament.
Yet the talented soccer player had to leave the pitch because of severe injuries in 2008.
Out of her passion and love for the sport, she turned to freestyle soccer, with attempts to integrate it with hip-hop, which gave a new lease of life to her career.
In comparison with competitive soccer that focuses more on speed and competition, freestyle soccer puts an emphasis on physical dexterity, deftness and coordination, she said.
Currently, Dochet has 200,000 fans on social media platforms, with more than 1 million visits to her freestyle soccer videos.
As the videos have caught wide attention online, she began her world performance tours in 2010.
The Shenyang leg was part of her latest China tour in March. The other two cities on the tour were Beijing and Shanghai.
Meloday Dochet, a soccer freestyler from France, showcases her ball skills at the Shenyang Imperial Palace, also known as the Mukden Palace, which was built in 1625 as the residence of the founders of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) before the royal family conquered Beijing.
Dochet performs at a shopping mall in Shenyang, Liaoning province, in April.