This week we are excited to introduce you to Will John. Will is an American professional football player who in 2008 moved to Europe and has been playing for some really excellent European football leagues from the Danish Superliga, Serbian Superliga, Moroccan Superliga during which time he has learnt and now proficient in 8 languages.
He has a superbly successful business, part of which is a football specific YouTube tutorial channel called GOLUREMI which is a ‘go to’ for those looking to learn easy match skills, training secrets, footwork drills and moves on how to beat your opponents, an all-round guide on how to improve your game and have fun.
Will is also on the United States Soccer Federation’s Athlete Council and in 2018 Will was named U.S Soccer Foundation Ambassador.
The mission of the U.S. Soccer Foundation is to enhance, assist and grow the sport of soccer in the United States, with a special emphasis on underserved communities
Make sure you follow Will on the following channels:
? Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goluremi/
?Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe9JOWHoSPS_r-EdiyNkrkg
? SNAP : https://www.snapchat.com/add/goluremi ???
Will is clearly talented with both a ball, and in business, but what keeps you engaged in his videos is his hilarious sense of humour and down to earth style – Check our our EXCLUSIVE interview with Will John below:
Will, it’s wonderful to welcome you to Sportside. I know I speak for all of the team when I say that we are really excited to have you onboard & look forward to working together over the coming months!
To start off, do you mind telling us a little bit more about yourself – who you are, what your background is & what you do for a living?
Yes! So, I like to say that I do virtually everything. Which is not far from the truth, but I am a Professional Footballer by trade and I run the company Goluremi. Which looks to use the sport of Football as a tool to teach young people how they can be succesful throughout their lives.
And what was it that attracted you to working with Sportside in particular?
Well it’s a no brainer, as we also look to bring people together through sport and this is clearly one of Sportside’s key aspects… and when you look at all of the other people that they have involved being at the top of their games and pushing to do things throughout the community… It was obvious to us that this was something we wanted to be a part of.
Football is now becoming much more popular Stateside, but during your time at High School, I imagine your friends were more attracted to basketball & American football? What made you pick football (soccer)?
I actually think that its a common misconception that soccer wasn’t popular in the US. Most of my friends grew up playing at least on a few soccer teams. It’s just that Basketball, American Football, Baseball, Hockey… those sorta things won out in the end. My Father was a former Nigerian National Team member. So, it was really easy for me to love the sport and I grew up playing basketball and soccer at the same time… and around the highschool time is when I decided to simply just focus only on soccer, in order to just make things just a bit easier for my life.
Great, and would you say that you had a knack for football from a young age?
I’m told that there is footage of me doing diving headers when I’m just 1. So, I’m gonna go ahead and say I had a decent knack for football at an early age. As far as I can remember, I can remember my first team being 5 years old and doing pretty well. So… as far as I can remember, I’ve been not too bad at the sport but I’ve always enjoyed it which is what’s given me an ability to make it a career.
I see you still hold the record for most goals scored for your high school football team with 36 goals & 20 assists. With stats like that, it’s not surprising there was a lot of interest in you from a young age! Do you remember much from that season?
I can actually remember quite a bit from that season. That was my senior year… I was one of the captains and I think the previous record was actually maybe 30 or 31? and uh.. I can just remember that I broke the record sometime in the playoffs and I remember everybody being incredibly-incredibly excited about it because it wasn’t a goal that I set out. It was just kind of something that happened. The obvious goal was to win the entire state championship, but along the way… everyone started to notice that I was getting close to the record. and so it started to get to be… you know, one of the really cool things about the season… so, it was a lot of fun.
You’ve played for some great teams in some big leagues – has there been a stand-out career highlight for you yet?
Yeah, to be honest there is just so many highlights that have been so good and I plan on having a whole- a whole lot more. Uhm, Getting drafted out of school early to play with Chicago Fire… Going home to play in my hometown city in Kansas City is amazing… Getting to play in the Youth World Cup was awesome… Having a chance to play in the Europa League… Winning Goal of the Season… Uhm yeah, so there’s just been– there’s plenty. It’s hard to pick any one of those things as the stand out highlight. I’ve just.. I’ve enjoyed it all.
On top of your playing career, you were also named as a US Soccer Foundation Ambassador. That must have put a smile on your face? There’s not many people have the honour of representing their countries interests like that.
Yeah, being chosen as a US Soccer Foundation Ambassador is actually something that was really interesting. I didn’t forsee that. My participation as an elected official of the US Soccer athlete council which is you have to represent your country in a certain capacity to be eligible for. That is what actually led me to then become a US Soccer Foundation Ambassador. so uhm, I did not necessarily set out to do it. It’s just something that fit based on the qualities I’ve tried to put forth in my personal life and for that of our business.
Can you tell us a little more about what a US Soccer Foundation Ambassador does?
So, It’s obvious that the task for an Ambassador are varied. Because it’s once again an attempt to use sport to show all of the good things that one can get from it. Uhm, One of the most ambitious parts of the US Soccer Foundation is a program called ‘Soccer for Success’. Where we go and build fields for underprivileged kids in underprivileged areas… and then use programs in order to get the kids out on the field after school or when there is time. In order to show these kids how they can have fun in the sport, how they can have responsibilities and how they can make something better for themselves. so, it’s been a very fun process and i think its one we will continue to team up with with our company Goluremi.
That’s work that must be hugely rewarding and fits perfectly with Sportside’s ethos of giving back to grassroots sport. Is it a role you will continue to perform when you are no longer playing professional football?
So you know, you could probably make a case that I have just been deeply entrenched within grassroots soccer–from a child, all the way throughout my entire career. So, I would imagine that whenever I do finish… I will ramp up my participation within youth development and grassroots soccer in order to provide even more than we are right now.
Now in addition to playing professionally, you also run a hugely successful YouTube channel. What inspired you to take your talents online?
Well if you can’t tell, I love to have fun with the sport. I’m constantly laughing and having a good time. So, the Youtube and the Online Community just was a perfect fit for us. In an attempt for us to put out coaching material for individuals and coaches–and to throw in all sorts of skits and funny aspects in order to make it FUN to learn–because that’s how I grew up with the sport. It wasn’t just a very militaristic, tough, stringent approach to the game. It was one that was very fun, fluid and creative… and that’s EXACTLY what creating and teaching online provides.
You’ve clearly been practicing your footwork! Do you find it rewarding engaging with younger fans/players and passing on the lessons you have learnt from your professional career?
I would say it’s been very cool to see what some of the kids think when we do tricks and things with the ball after years and years of training. But I would say it’s been MORE REWARDING to receive the messages from kids who have done our programs–like our 21-day challege on Youtube which is FREE. To see them come back after just a week or a few days, and say that its changed their game… or that they’ve been fans for 2 years and they’ve practiced all the things and it’s completely changed their game… or that they went from not playing at all on their team to being the best players on their team… to getting recruiting for college… for getting guys that actually get a chance to play professionally, because they’ve been trying to get better and following our methods because we’ve been there and done that. So I would say that is the most rewarding thing about being to give back to the younger fans.
You also run a podcast called the 11th Commandment. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
So, 11th Commandment is actually the name of our Media division. Which does a whole host of things but within that sector there are two podcasts–one is ‘The Way of Will John’ which is a podcast dedicated to just learning about all sorts of crazy things from people who have done incredible things within their lives or doing cool things and projects… and the other one is called ‘Biscuits and Tea’ with two collegues of mine. Where we literally just talk about everything that’s going on right now in the world and how crazy it is and it just gets to be a crazy good time. So, definitely check those out!
Will, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today. We can’t wait to work with you moving forward and to see what the future has in store.