We went to the Futliga studio to talk to Bacalhau and Gabi, who both love a very specific kind of shoe: Soccer Boots. Futliga is an amateur soccer league. And its YouTube channels focuses on the sport and on soccer boots, a big passion for many Brazilians. That's were Bacalhau and Gabi come in. They're the hosts of the Futliga channel. Bacalhau founded the channel with his brother Fabio, and Gabi has come to join the team.
Pictures by PEROLA DUTRA

"I'm Felipe, and my last name is not Bacalhau, it's just a nickname (laughs). We have this YouTube channel called Futliga, which we talked about amateur soccer and within amateur soccer, we talked a lot about soccer boots. I've always been crazy in love with soccer boots and no one would get that, and today I'm super happy to be representing this niche and this lifestyle of people that are into soccer boots just like me. So that's me."

"My name is Gabi Martins and I was invited to Futliga by the brothers not too long ago.  I've really liked soccer ever since I was a little girl, and I never imagined that soccer could become way more than just a hobby. I like playing just as much as I like to watch a match but I never thought that I would work with this someday, actually dedicate my time to this. I've been learning a lot."

What is Futliga?

BACALHAU: Futliga is an online soccer league that exists for more than 10 years. For example, if you have your team you can register on Futliga, pick if you are home or away (if you have your own Court then you are home, if you don't you are away). When we started me and my brother created a team and we would play in Futliga as an away team.  Then we would visit a lot of teams in a bunch of different places like Capão Redondo, Cohab, a bunch of cool places. And my brother had the idea to start filming all that. He would make some videos and post them on our team's Facebook page and a lot of people started watching them, and then videos started getting pretty good. The League last the entire year, and at the end of the year the first 16 home teams and away teams classify and play the cup until one of them is champion, and we classified but we didn't win.

At the end of the cup, the owner of Futliga got in contact with us and said he really liked the videos we were making and pitched the idea for us to make videos for them. So we started making videos for their Facebook page and later on we created a project to move to YouTube, and the first thing we saw we needed was a person, like character, for the channel and I pitched the idea for us to interview some people but they said "no, we want you to do it".  And I was like "no way I don't do that stuff" (laughs), I have never been in front of a camera before and I was really embarrassed but in the end, I ended up doing it.

GABI: I've known him for a long time now, it has been dating my sister for the last 12 years, and when I found out he was making YouTube videos I couldn't believe it (laughs).

BACALHAU: I wouldn't tell that to no one (laughs). But anyway, today Futliga is separated into two things – there's the league and there's the YouTube channel – and this is what it turned in to.

Gabi, when did you join the channel?

GABI: It was in December 2018. We build up a strategy on how to introduce me to the channel, because Fe (Bacalhau) and Fábio already had their own image, and you can't just put someone new right out of the blue.  So we created these challenges and it was a really cool way to introduce me.

BACALHAU: The idea is to have Gabi on the videos more and more. Today she doesn't appear as much yes I do because I'm here every day and Gabi has her own job, she records when she can. But the idea is to have her appear as much as I do.

What it's like to create soccer content here in Brazil? Since it's such a competitive theme here right?

BACALHAU: theoretically it's easier here in Brazil because everybody's consumes soccer, but it's also hard because there's a lot of competition. Everybody like soccer so everyone wants to talk about it.  Since the start, we decided not to talk about professional soccer because there's a lot of channels that are just about that, but we really wanted was to talk about amateur soccer. It's important for you to focus on one specific niche, because if you shoot for all sides you may end up becoming something with no identity.

Today you have a good relationship with Nike. What was the first big project that you did together?

BACALHAU: It was a project we did for the Phantom release. One day they called me asking us to go over at Nike because they wanted to talk to us. when we got there they invited us to do what campaign and obviously we said yes. The concept behind the campaign was "secret society" – they sent me an invitation with a cell phone, and they would call me and send me a message, but of course I already knew of that ( laughs),  the message was an invite to the event. It was in this super cool house, Philippe Coutinho was there. So we and three other channels had the mission to invite people to form our team, there was a competition between all teams and my team ended up being champion! It was a really cool experience.

EVERYBODY THINKS I'M CRAZY BECAUSE I SPENT SO MUCH MONEY END TIME WITH SOCCER BOOTS.  AND WHEN WE CREATED THE CHANNEL, I ACTUALLY TOOK SOME TIME TO BRING UP THE SOCCER BOOTS THEME, BECAUSE IN MY HEAD I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE THAT CARED ABOUT THIS STUFF.

How's the process of inserting the soccer boot theme into the channel?

BACALHAU: I've always played soccer and always had a big passion for it. And my boots were always from my brother's friends who didn't want them anymore, and I would play with them.  Until one day my dad wanted to buy me and my brother and you pair of soccer boots, and when I got to the store there were so many different ones, I could never have imagined that there were so many options!  And the guy from the store would tell me the difference between one and the other and I just went nuts, it was like a whole new world just opened up in my head. I was so impressed with the variety of different boots that I couldn't even pick one for myself, so my brother said " take this one, it suits you",  it was a Nike Total 90.

After this day everything changed, I would watch commercials, research and read everything about soccer boots. And when a new one dropped I would do everything possible to get it, I wouldn't beg my dad for them or I would save my allowance. Everybody thinks I'm crazy because I spent so much money end time with soccer boots.  And when we created the channel, I actually took some time to bring up the soccer boots theme, because in my head I thought I was the only one that cared about this stuff. I thought that if I made a video talking about this stuff nobody would watch it.

But one day I decided to record one and it turned out to be a big hit!  That's when I realized that there was this whole audience for this kind of stuff and that there were people that actually like this too.  So I started doing more and it super worked out. So today having the opportunity to be one of the first to get them, it's really crazy, to have the opportunity to go over to their HQ, to talk with them, to know what the future releases are, sometimes they even show the prototypes,  and to have the opportunity to have a relationship with the brand that I admire, and having them tell me " this is the new release, this is the concept behind it, this is the visual identity". That's one of the coolest things because it's what I like the most.

GABI: That's one of the coolest things about Nike, everything has a concept and a story behind it.

BACALHAU: And there's also something else, they always told us that numbers are important as well but it's not what is most interested about,  even because there are Channels that are way bigger than ours, but what they're interested in that weekend best on the concept of the product just the way that Nike wants it, and not just someone showing the product.  So that's one of our advantages. And we talk to people just the way we're talking to you guys right now, nothing is rehearsed you know?

And what about you Gabi, are you also crazy about soccer boots?

GABI: I am but not at his level (laughs) to tell the truth I also didn't know that the soccer boot Universe was so big, and now I'm learning more about it.  But it's really cool to learn about this stuff and to see that every bone is made for a type of player, then I started noticing even more, and today I often catch myself looking at what players are wearing on the field (laughs). Like, I like them before obviously but today I'm way more interested.

A FUNNY THING THAT HAPPENED WAS WHEN WE DID THE CHALLENGE VIDEO WITH RAQUEL, AND I WAS WEARING THIS BOOT ON THE VIDEO, AND AFTER I POSTED THE PICTURE OFF THE BALL WITH THE BOOTS ON MY STORIES.  WE PUT THAT ON THIS VIDEO AND THERE WERE A LOT OF COMMENTS LIKE " FOR THE LOVE OF GOD ASK NIKE TO SEND YOU A NEW PAIR OF BOOTS", "DAMN GABI, THOSE ARE SOME OLD BOOTS" (LAUGHS). COME ON PEOPLE THESE ARE MY BABIES, YOU CAN'T TALK ABOUT THEM THAT WAY (LAUGHS).

Why did you guys pick these Mercurials for this Kickstory?

GABI: When I was young I would always go to school with my uniform and soccer boots on my feet everyone thought it was so bizarre but it's something I've always liked, and sometimes I would even wear my soccer boots even if I was not going to play that day, it was really just to show them off.  But I chose this one because it was the boot that I wore when I played in the United States in 2012. I lived there for a year and this was the only soccer boots I played with. So that's why I picked them.

A funny thing that happened was when we did the challenge video with Raquel, and I was wearing this boot on the video, and after I posted the picture off the ball with the boots on my stories.  We put that on this video and there were a lot of comments like " for the love of God ask Nike to send you a new pair of boots", "damn Gabi, those are some old boots" (laughs). Come on people these are my babies, you can't talk about them that way (laughs).

BACALHAU: Now my story was a bit different. Every boot that I ever had in my life has a story, and there are boots that are more special because you've been through something good in your life with them. There were my first boots with which I was champion in my school, sorry about that hurt my feet so I stopped using them. Pinder's this one right here, which I got a tattoo as a surprise, they are a custom bye TND Sneakers, I thought they were really good and I would always talk about them to my brother, but I thought they only did custom for famous people, and I thought it was impossible to get through to them, love my brother reached out to them in secret.

My brother knows that I've always been a huge Pokemon fan, it really represents my childhood, so he asked the guys over at TND  to use this thing for the customer and we did a video on our Channel showing all of that, I really liked it.  I like them so much that I've never put them on, I'm afraid the paint will crackle or something like that (laughs).

If you could have any boot you ever saw, which one would you choose?

GABI: In my head, black boots are such a big icon, they are so historic.  Can you look at the players from back in the 70s, Brazil wasn't even 3-time champion, they didn't even have half of the technology there is today, but they're so moralizing you know?  I don't know if those would be the ones I pick for the rest of my life, but it's something that has a lot of history. I have this passion for black boots.

BACALHAU: I would choose the very first Mercurial which is just legendary to me.  There's this famous picture of Ronaldo – everyone who likes soccer boots knows that this picture it's the most legendary of them all – which is a picture of when Ronaldo won the World Cup and he hung his boots around his neck. It was the first mercurial made just for him for the World Cup,  made for a Brazilian and to top it all off we won the World Cup. I would choose that one for all that it means four all Brazilians.

Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly III e Nike Mercurial Superfly VI Academy Futsal
Got in: 2012 and 2018
Owners: Gabi e Bacalhau
📸: Perola Dutra