A Freestyler’s Journey From Viral Videos To Guest At Manchester United Training
Freestyler Tom Nolan has come a long way in his soccer skills journey. He started creating unique and diverse skills videos and ended up being a guest at his favorite club Manchester United’s practice during their tour in the States.
The 20-year-old Nolan has come a long way, born in Luton, England. He grew up with a ball always at his feet and would have to do exercises in the family garden basically as a chore before getting to relax and watch television.
Nolan grew up playing the game but eventually learned expectations can be grueling.
“When I was 13 or 14 (years old), everyone was expecting me to be so good every time I played,” Nolan said. “It got to a point where I stopped enjoying football. As weird as it sounds, it became more of a chore than a hobby with a lot of pressure.”
Even though he stepped away from playing the sport, Nolan stayed consistent in his training. He began crafting his skill and future career with a soccer ball while watching F2 Freestylers videos. He created his own content at 15 and hit viral gold right off the bat.
Here’s a more recent trick shot with an interesting celebration.
— Overtime (@overtime) January 14, 2019
Eventually, Adidas called and gave the freestyler his first spotlight. In his premiere advert, he joined a group of fellow ridiculously talented players, doing drills and fun videos promoting new shoes.
“The directors said play the game for real but we’re looking for a nutmeg and celebration,” Nolan said.
And man, did he give them what they wanted.
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This gave Nolan some real credibility and eventually led to meeting Chelsea and being part of United’s training in the U.S.
Although it was hard to comprehend that he was actually practicing with the Man United squad a few years ago, Tom thrived and says it was the best experience of his life.
“I knew I hadn’t shown 25 percent of what I knew I was capable of online when it came to the videos,” Nolan said, “And there I was able to fly out there and train with one of the biggest clubs in the world.”
Juan Mata was one of Nolan’s favorites to meet and play alongside, even though Mata severally punked Nolan by kicking the ball toward his face in a circle. The Spaniard blocked the ball just before it would’ve smacked the youngsters face, but not before Nolan flinched back hard and knew the United forward got him good.
After practicing with a professional squad, it is natural for us to think Nolan would wish to journey to the professional level, having the skills, drive and connections already at his young age. Who could turn down a shot at playing at the highest level if a club called?
“I always thought the F2 had the coolest job and from when I first watched them, I knew I wanted to do something like that,” Nolan said. “I love the challenge that comes with the internet, and being able to inspire a younger generation is something I really relate to and motivates me to keep putting out only the best videos possible. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’m curious as to how I would do at a professional club, maybe not the Premier League, but after training with (Manchester United) and the feedback I got there it’s just one of those unanswered questions.”
Maybe one day a professional club will need Nolan, but right now he has shown that he does not need a professional club career and is doing more than well off the success of his videos and brand of TNFreestyle.com.
“Who knows, in the future I could wake up one day and want to get playing again, but right now my aim is just to put out the best content I can and continue to try and inspire a younger generation,” Nolan said. “Coronavirus of course halted a lot of plans but I think when everything resumes the aim is to just keep the standards high and post only the best of the best. This year I wanted to (collaborate) with some Premier League players to film some real viral videos!”