Lisa Calderon is always on the move.
A senior studying business administration, she routinely drives from her home in Corona to the University of La Verne, Don Antonio Lugo High School in Chino (where she is assistant coach for girls’ soccer), and all points in between.
It is not the commute that keeps her in motion, but her fascination with freestyle football.
Freestyle football is no gridiron game. It is next-level footwork, with balancing, precision kicks, and fast movement combined to create a kinetic sport that is gaining interest around the world. Calderon is a star in her own right. She has appeared in commercials for Nike and Powerade, performed during halftime shows for LA Galaxy, and traveled the world showing off her unique skillset to amazed onlookers.
“I make sure not a minute is wasted,” she said. “Every minute is an opportunity to do something, to work toward being something, and to keep growing. I’ve learned life is best when you’re willing to take a few risks along the way, and with this philosophy the past few years have been the best.”
Calderon is up early every morning – usually around 6 a.m. Her breakfast of champions?
“A choice between oatmeal with apples and peanut butter or Honey Bunches of Oats.” Then she is off to school. Essentials include school supplies and her freestyle gear – Match Ball, GoPro (for sharing clips on social media), and training shoes.
Early morning business classes let out around lunchtime, which gives Calderon plenty of space and time to practice her moves in Sneaky Park.
“I’ll turn on my music and GoPro and train for about an hour and a half,” she said. “On campus, my style is more creative and I focus on flow. Off-campus, I concentrate on the technical aspects.” After training, Calderon is off to inspire the next generation of freestyle artists at Don Lugo. “I enjoy showcasing my skills at work because it pushes the girls to get better and train harder,” she said.
By now, the sun has set and she heads home to finish classwork and review footage shot that day. But what happens when freestyle football conflicts with college?
“I tell my professors ahead of time and get my homework,” Calderon said. “Our community is small but close. Every day is an opportunity for new adventure. Freestyle has definitely helped me see that,” she said.