Inspiration, Trends

The Soccer Ball: A Visual Love Letter to the World’s Most Popular Sport


Martin Glegg is a director at Wallop Film. He cut his teeth with the BBC and now his visual work is based in both Canada and the UK.

Being born and raised in Scotland, football is something I grew up playing. Back home, it’s almost a way of life, as most young boys (and girls) start chasing around a ball about as soon as they can start walking. Many a summer’s evening, we would run around in backyards and parks with friends trying to emulate our favorite football idols. That was until the light of dusk put a halt to our freedom and fun, and we would retire back inside ready for tomorrow’s game.

Although I’m not as prolific a player as I was back then, I’m still captivated by the game as an adult. The plan (obviously) was to be playing professionally by this age, which didn’t quite transpire the way my young imagination had intended. My childhood isn’t dissimilar to millions of others who grew up playing the game. Boys and girls across the world find ways to kick a ball about. Football is such an accessible game and, as a result, it has the power to captivate millions across the world.

We can often become blinded by the bright lights, money, and corruption that exists in professional sports today. These days, there are many negative elements that taint the game, but at the same time, there are always going to be children enjoying the game, in its purest form, by simply chasing a ball around a field.

As filmmakers and football fanatics, we decided to create a film about the magic of the sport and how this simple game has the power to transcend culture, race, gender and status. We wanted it to feel real, like the audience was there with the players kicking the ball in the dust.

Spinning Ball on Finger by yoydesign

This sentiment was elevated with the decision to incorporate a poem. Luckily, my colleague found a poem titled “The Soccer Ball” by a poet called Salvatore Ala that perfectly aligned with our vision. We connected with Salvatore and he kindly gave us the rights to use his beautiful words. The prose is written from the perspective of the ball itself, which gave us the opportunity to tell the story from a point of view that was unique. Here is an extract that I really like:

This orb we stroke with our minds,
This round book of beginnings,
This sphere we kiss like the earth,
This earth flying into eternity

Soccer Player Scoring Goal And Cheering by rubberball

We dived into Pond5’s archives and straight away we knew this concept had potential. The great thing about Pond5’s footage is that you really can tell a story from multiple perspectives — perspectives that we wanted to express. We suddenly had a plethora of footage at our fingertips of people playing football across the world, from kids playing in the back streets of Havana to teenagers playing on ice fields in Norway. These were moments you just couldn’t capture without the contributions from filmmakers all over the world. You really are only limited by your creativity when working with this many options – the possibilities are endless.

Soccer Attack On Snowy Field by pressmaster

Our editor poured hours (as you do when editing) into scouring the marketplace for the right footage, while the music and sound effects were also sourced from Pond5 and then cut together to create a story about the beginnings of football. The simple yet vibrant story we ended up with is about the kicking of the ball and the youthful energy so pure and exhilarating that many of us can never let it go. So, let’s keep playing till the light starts to fade.

Explore all the media used to create this video in the collection below!

Top image: Still from Football on the Sandy Beach by dmitriylo