Football freestyler and global Icon Liv Cooke opens up to Her Football Hub after achieving her fifth Guinness World Record on International Women’s Day.
In 2016, the world was firmly introduced to a global superstar as a young Liv Cooke, a girl from a small town in England, became the youngest professional football freestyler.
Since then, Cooke has dominated the sport – remaining undefeated since her debut in 2016, the youngest winner in history no less. Her incredible drive has left her refusing to be satisfied with that alone and Cooke has gone on to conquer five World Records in the sport. With the most recent falling on International Women’s Day.
More than 250,000 people tuned in to Cooke’s TikTok live stream on Sunday, as she obliterated the World Record for ‘Most keep-ups whilst skipping in 30 seconds’.
The previous record stood at 37 – Cooke not only went on to beat it in her first attempt with 59, but ended up beating her own record-breaking attempt, setting the new record at 62.
“It’s something I’d been thinking about for quite a while and been training intensely for when it struck me, what better time to do it it than International Women’s Day?” Cooke said. “It’s a record in a male-dominated industry and being a young female trying to make a pathway for other girls to come through, it seemed like a no-brainer.”
International Women’s Day has inspired many to strive for greatness and for Cooke, it was the perfect time to further solidify her legacy.
“With it being four years since my last record, the boredom hit and lockdown gave me the time to train harder. I decided I’d go full force and try for my fifth world record.”
Empowerment outweighing talent
Cooke’s numerous achievements are testament to how self-empowerment and a strong belief in self-worth can elevate just about anyone to greatness.
“I think when you look at everything I achieve, there’s a skill and that’s impressive in itself and that is what people are usually blown away by,” the freestyler said. “What they don’t realise is the hardest part is handling the pressure that comes with it – that can break a person.”
Elaborating on her methods of training her mind for success, Cooke went on to clarify: “That’s the difference between people that are talented and people that succeed.”
“There are so many people and athletes out there that don’t get the rankings they deserve. You see it in freestyle all the time. A freestyler can be the best in their country but they don’t win championships. The physical talent is there but it’s that mental aspect that is so rare that is the big difference between excellence in today’s society.”
Failure hasn’t been an option for Cooke since adulthood, and even though it is a constant reality in life for each and every one of us, she refuses to channel any kind of negative energy.
“The only thing that could’ve let me down today is if my mental aspect wasn’t there, but I think that’s my strongest attribute. People think my skills are impressive but my mentality and mindset is more impressive for me – I work even harder on that.”
Modern day role models
For Cooke, being a role model is as sacred a responsibility as you can have. Nurturing young minds as they grow into functioning members of society, helping shape their attitudes as they find their passions and drive.
It’s a responsibly that sometimes can be forgotten by modern day ‘influencers’.
“I think in today’s society unfortunately, popularity, fame, followers and money are not as well connected as they should be with talent, dedication hard work,” she went on. “Young people can look up to the wrong kind of role models and unfortunately, they end up doing things that aren’t good for them or their development.”
Cooke then delved deeper into how she’s actively trying to combat toxic social media culture.
“I think in a world where this [culture] is prominent, positive role models are few and far between. I didn’t even set out to be a role model but when I see kids looking up to me, I’ve taken it as a big responsibility and I want them to see anything is possible.
“If they can see it they can believe it. Then all that stands between that and them and becoming a success, is putting the hard work in and that’s something that I think a lot of people need to understand.”
Nervous child to global icon
Cooke wasn’t always a natural born winner. The World Champion was reluctant to receive even the slightest bit of attention back in her school days.
“I was not a confident kid,” she admitted. “In school I hated it if the teacher asked me a question in front of everyone. I was so nervous and lacking confidence.
“If I was ever put on the spot, I’d rather be off school sick. If I told you that and you look at me now, presenting Match of the Day, World Champion, breaking World Records in front of hundreds of thousands… You wouldn’t believe me, but it’s absolutely true.”
Explaining how this all changed, she goes into detail about how a quiet determination to be better at freestyle led to everything changing.
“My confidence originally came from freestyle,” Cooke said. “It’s hard to lack confidence when you’ve put so much work into being good at something for years.”
“It’s almost a forced confidence, but as that skyrocketed, it trickled down into all aspects of my life. That and through reading mindset books, training and putting myself into uncomfortable situations to grow like I’ve just elevated myself to this whole other level.
“Now to the point where no matter what I set my mind towards, I already know it’s happening.”
The next chapter
When challenged with the age-old question of what comes next, Cooke quipped: “This is always my favourite question to answer”. As expected, there are plenty of plans in the Liv Cooke pipeline.
“In terms of the bigger picture, I’ve just agreed a book deal which I have been pouring my heart and soul into for the last 12 months. Honestly, this is my proudest project to date.
“The last time I worked this hard on something was when I won the World Championships and I’ll be prouder of this book and its impact than my title. I think that says everything.”
As she relishes in her latest achievement, Cooke turns her attention to channelling her aspirations and hard work into others who are chasing their dreams.
“Dream big and work hard because anything is achievable. I think I’m living proof of that. I am not special, I’m not gifted, I’m not naturally talented, I just work extremely hard. If I can do it then anyone can, in fact they can do it better and bigger than me.”