Zurich-born Tina Aeberli, 26, is a mother of two who is finishing up her medical degree this summer. She’s also a footbag sensation with six world championship titles and eight European championship titles to her name. As part of a special exhibition on StreetFootballArt, held to mark International Museum Day on 22 May, Tina will be visiting the museum to showcase her skills and to help visitors pick up a few new tricks too.
You can see a selection of her footbag tricks in the video below, or scroll down for the Q&A.
Hi Tina, at just 26 you already have an incredible number of titles! What’s your secret?
I just really like the sport! I practiced a lot when I was 14, which is probably the best age to start because you pick it up very fast. You don’t need a lot of space or special equipment, you can do it during school breaks, waiting for the bus – I always had a footbag with me. I never focused on getting good but when I participated in tournaments I noticed that I was already in the top league!
Did you realise straight away that you had a natural talent for the sport?
No, I didn’t! I’m quite a sporty person, so I thought I would be faster than some people but I didn’t know it would go this way. I knew footbag existed and what it was but I had never really tried it. Then at a sports camp, there was a footbag workshop and basically I had to practice for a week. I liked it and, although it was very hard, after a week I had learned the basics.
From Paris to San Francisco - footbag has taken you all over the world. Do you have a favourite memory?
Maybe my first big tournament outside of Switzerland; the World Championship in Helsinki, 2005. I was new to the tournament scene and travelling alone but I have great memories. I competed in three disciplines, winning two and getting second in the other. It was competitive but very friendly among the players; they were welcoming and I like that it’s not just about the sport but also the circle of friends.
- GRAFFITI EXHIBITION by ONE TRUTH
- PHOTO EXHIBITION of urban football landscapes
- STREET DANCE SHOW & WORKSHOP with KELECHI ONYELE
- FOOTBAG SHOW & WORKSHOP with world champion TINA AEBERLI
- STREET FOOD in the museum’s Bistro"
How often do you practice? And are you still competing internationally?
I still do it regularly but I don’t have so much time for it anymore. I am in my final phase of my studies, which takes up a lot of my time, and I have two little children. I go to training sessions, I practice maybe three times a week, and I still go to the important tournaments. My goal is to go to the world championships again and to win, again.
Did playing football encourage you to try footbag?
I like to do things with my feet and a ball so maybe playing football helped to get me into it. I still like to play football but these days only with my friends. My favourite team is Barcelona because of their history and the way they play – very skillful and technical.
Finally, what can visitors expect from your performance at the museum?
I will do a footbag routine with music – like I would at competitions – then a session with some footbag clubs from Zurich. It’s difficult to say what we will do with the visitors because it’s hard to know their level, but I expect a talented group as I guess they will be interested in football and might be used to juggling with their feet.
Tomorrow we will be speaking to another peformer in the build up to International Museum Day, so make sure to come back!