Rise: Ed Van Gils
project name

Rise: Ed Van Gils

We weren’t all born equal, and life doesn’t treat everyone fairly. To become the best, you have to rise above the adversity and give it your all. In this incredible and moving series, we look at the athletes from around the globe who have overcome major obstacles in their life to become icons of their respective sport. From a champion boxer that beat bone cancer to a leader of street soccer who survived a troubled youth, these athletes are giving hope to millions of people around the world who face adversity. Episode 1 chronicles the life of Ed van Gils, the pioneering street soccer player who has crafted a sub-culture within the game.


Director: Ian Cumming
Producer: Benjamin Potter
Executive Producer: Richard Wilson

For many, football is an escape from the mind-numbing 9 to 5 job and the struggles of trying to maintain a social life, whilst being a parent. However, for Dutch street footballer, Ed van Gils, football gave him an escape of so much more than repetitiveness of every day life. van Gils’ reality was one that he wanted to escape from as young as seven years old, as a confused and scared boy, with parents who suffered with their addiction to alcohol – a wedge that eventually drove van Gils’ mother to leave the family.

Not many would’ve found the inner strength to use the emotions from a troubled upbringing as a way to fuel their desire to make their dreams come true, but that’s exactly what van Gils did.