Yo Katsuyama is quickly becoming one of the world’s best freestylers, and that’s not just according to us. Ask anyone who’s seen him battle, and they’ll tell you he’s an inspired talent, someone who other freestylers love to watch.
Yo has competed in several major competitions this past year, including Super Ball, the Asian Freestyle Football Championship (AFFC), and the Japan Freestyle Football Championship. He finished in the top 8 at Super Ball, third in the Japan contest (in the U22 bracket), and was runner-up at AFFC after an intense battle with PWG that both admit was so close it was likely going to Katsuyama before PWG’s last round where the champ busted out a 3-rev combo.
As an internationally ranked freestyler, Yo will also be part of the elite group traveling with the F3 World Tour this year. With these big achievements under his belt, Yo continues to work hard and pursue his passion.
We caught up with the young and promising athlete to get a glimpse into his current life and the exciting year that lies ahead of him.
It was shocking to see and meet a man who was so free in expressing himself by doing what he loved. After that moment, I began practicing freestyle football.
Urban Pitch: What was it like placing top 8 in the biggest freestyle competition in the world?
Yo Katsuyama: Super Ball was incredibly competitive since it had all of the best talents in the world there. It’s really difficult to win with so much talent competing. I felt as if I was lucky to have made the top 8. However, this result built my confidence and made me a better performer in other shows.
What are some of your favorite moves?
I like to perform a good mixture of tricks to keep it balanced. I really enjoy landing variations of the Around the World. I also love upper body and sit-down tricks and stalls.
How did you get started with freestyle?
When I was about 10 years old, I was introduced to a man named Nori from the Monta Crew. It was shocking to see and meet a man who was so free in expressing himself by doing what he loved. After that moment, I began practicing freestyle football.
It’s crucial and important to master a trick before the performance.
Who are your 3 favorite freestylers?
I like watching and learning from Rocco, Szymon, and Tokura.
How long does it take you to master a trick?
It always depends on the trick, but usually 2 to 3 months. It’s crucial and important to master a trick before the performance. I want to make sure my trick is perfect for the next battle, that’s why I work really hard to learn it.
I want people to be inspired by my performances and to help the sport grow and become more popular!
What about your favorite hobbies?
Some of my other hobbies include gaming and snowboarding. I love first-person shooter games. I also love to break dance.
What keeps you inspired?
My family, friends, and girlfriend are the biggest motivators in my life. They encourage me to improve myself every day and I am incredibly happy and thankful to have them by my side. I keep working hard and always stay strong for them.
I want people to be inspired by my performances and to help the sport grow and become more popular! My goal is to express my style in such a way that will help others be influenced by it.
This interview has been edited for clarity.