Tom Nolan, also known as TNFreestyle, is a Football Content Creator and Social Media Influencer.
Tom’s viral content has brought him to work alongside some of the biggest brands and sports stars on the planet through his collaborations with Adidas Football. He has also worked on projects and campaigns with other globally renowned names such Manchester United (joining their training camp) and participating at big events such as The Best FIFA Football Awards.
How does a football influencer work? What kind of life does he lead? What kind of collaboration has he had with Adidas? And why has he participated in Manchester United Training?
Football Tribe had the honor of interviewing him, and we hope you all enjoy the story of his remarkable experiences.
Tom’s Path to Becoming an Influencer
Please introduce yourself.
Tom (Henceforth “T”): My name is Tom Nolan, better known as TNfreestyle and I don’t really know what I’d officially call myself but I’m often called a football influencer and internet star. I create viral football videos and have so far achieved over 40 million views and a following of over 200,000+ across all platforms.
Can you share with us your relationship with football?
T: I grew up playing football from as far back as I can remember, I was always practicing skills, training or playing in matches with my friends. From a young age, I was always told I was a very technically gifted footballer but when I was 14, one day just decided I didn’t want to play football anymore and quit. I felt there was so much pressure on me back then that I wasn’t enjoying football for what it should be.
I didn’t completely quit though, as I was still playing and practicing every day, I just put my focus into learning new skills to impress my friends rather than playing for a team.
When did you decide to become a freestyler?
T: When I stopped playing I was still training everyday just not for a team, I was always a big fan of The F2 and learned a lot of my skills from watching their youtube videos and then practicing them until I could do them without failure.
When I showed my mates the new skills they were always amazed and I thought that The F2 had the best job in the world making these crazy videos with a football and this is what made me fall back in love with football I wanted to do what they did.
I started making my own videos and sending them to The F2 and they always said I was talented & to keep working hard, little did I know in a few years Billy and Jez from The F2 would help change my life.
Did you ever think of becoming a professional soccer player?
T: Like any other kid that played football, of course I wanted to be a professional but as I got older the pressure of trying to be the best just got to me and I stopped playing because I wasn’t enjoying it like I used to.
I wouldn’t change how it all turned out for the world though even today if I was offered to choose between what I do now and being a professional I would choose TNfreestyle all day.I enjoy every second of what I do now and the fact that I get to inspire & share the videos with such a large audience online is everything I dreamed of as a kid. You’ve got to follow your dreams at the end of the day and do what you enjoy most!
What kind of videoes do you prefer to make? What kind of thought process goes into creating your content?
T: Viral football videos are what I love the most, I want every video of mine to be at a level where even when someone who doesn’t like football watches it they say: wow that was actually impressive. The truth is I put a lot of thought into all my contents, the ideas have to be the best of the best and the filming has to perfect. Every time if anything is out of place we have to do it all again!
You have to be proud of the videos you create and so far each video just does better than the last so I like to think I’ve got the right idea here. Sometimes I still can’t believe how many views some of the videos have!
It’s always nice to see your video go viral after you put in the work to make sure every detail is how it should be. I get a lot of support from celebrities and professional footballers which is always great to see as it acts as a reminder that I am on the right path and to continue to work hard to be the best I can be.
What kind of user is following you the most and what kind of response do you receive from them?
T: I’d say my largest audience is younger football fans but I actually have a really strong following all round which is rare. The response I get online is always unreal which is great to see as I really do take pride in my videos, like some influencers I don’t post everyday, let alone every month and I still consistently achieve these crazy numbers and I think people know now that it will be worth the wait, I haven’t let them down just yet!
Please share a bit about your everyday life with us. How many hours a day do you spend “touching” the ball?
T: People think I live a crazy celebrity life but to be honest most of the time it’s pretty normal I train five days a week for a few hours, just making sure I feel sharp, working on my technique and consistently hitting the target so that when I do get a big idea I’m ready to go.
I get shown a lot of love all the time and especially after the last video I’m always being recognized in public meeting people day to day who support my videos wherever I go, which is a great feeling, it makes me want to work harder to give them a reason to do the same and follow their dreams.