Peterborough footballer (12) uses time in lockdown to become internet freestyling star
Jack Dean (12) has used time spent in lockdown over the past year practicing and becoming an internet star with his football freestyling skills.
The 12-year-old has gone from, in his own words, “barely being able to kick a ball properly” to amassing over 4300 followers on Instagram (jack_dean_freestyle) with his freestyling skills in the matter of a couple of months.
Members from across the footballing community have reached out to Jack to offer their support including ex-players such as Bobby Zamora and Ian Wright, as well as famous freestylers Billy Wingrove and Jemery Lynch (the F2 Freestylers), who boast a combined 22m followers across their Instagram and Youtube accounts.
Last Tuesday (May 11) he was even invited to take part in an Instagram Live stream with ex-Ajax, Chelsea and dutch international defender Mario Melchiot.
Jack said: “Having all these great players reach out and message me has been brilliant. Mario was amazing, he answered all of my questions and we were online for over an hour. He also gave me some advice on how I can improve my own game.
“He spoke about comparing playing football to when you’re driving a car, you don’t just look at what is directly in front of you but what is beyond that and everywhere around you, which is really important for me playing in central midfield.
“I have always watched The f2 but during lockdown there was no one else to play with so I decided to give some of the skills a go myself and see how many of them I could learn.
“It’s been brilliant to get messages from so many people online and to have support from people like my uncle Jim and the Youth Dreams Project, who have let me do some shadow coaching.”
Jack still aims to become a professional footballer and play for Liverpool, the club both he and his uncle Jimmy Dean. manager of Peterborough Sports FC, support.
He currently plays for his local side, Yaxley U12s and is also on trial at Kings Lynn.
On the night of the live chat with Mario Melchiot the side had a game, which the coach allowed Jack to arrive late for. Given the success of the event though, by the time Jack arrived for the match there was only five minutes left. He begged the coach to still let him go on and when he got the opportunity, he managed to score a goal with his weaker foot.
Jack’s mum, Roxanne, added: “I’m such a proud mum.
“He’s always been into his football since the age of three, he was the type of kid where we had to bring a ball with us wherever we went.
“A year ago, the only skills he could do were a few keepy-ups but now he’s doing around the world, press-ups with the ball on his back and allsorts. He just goes out the front of the house and practices each day.
“I was a little apprehensive at first when he told me what he wanted to start doing but he has had some really nice feedback. It’s been so kind of all of the footballers that have got in touch to give him encouragement and tips for improvement.
“Mario was so kind, I thought he’d just give Jack 10 minutes but he answered all of his questions and was great with him, he even mentioned meeting up in Amsterdam.
“His school (Stanground Academy) have also recognised him and have said that they are planning an assembly about his achievements.”
To follow Jack on Instagram, visit instagram.com/jack_dean_freestyle/.