While there is no doubt that Will John would have been successful irrespective of what field he found himself in, or on, it was the Beautiful Game of football where he has made a name for himself. A remarkable man, with a remarkable business, Will is an example of the possibilities available to everyone willing to give it a go.
The founder of Golumeri, a Youtube Channel providing coaching videos for footballers of all ages as well as the head contributor to a number of associated podcasts, Will’s content and videos are now seen by over 630k subscribers with over 55 million views! Combining entertainment with education the videos revolve around Will’s naturally outgoing and sporting energy and personality and are in every way a reflection of himself.
As he explains the evolution of the channel itself has been an interesting journey. One that started long before he ever first signed up for his own Youtube account. His late mother was an actress and model and Will had the opportunity to become comfortable with being in front of a camera. He admits that while he was so focussed on his sport, he never really considered being a performer but would often find himself running through skits in his mind involving teammates and opposing players.
“What started just as a mental game became skits that I would film while I was out with my two best friends,” he explains, “When we went out or were together we would make these funny videos and then just share amongst ourselves. The content of the videos has changed but I think that energy has continued. The videos are as entertaining as instructional.”
During our conversation with Will, he reveals that he is a big believer in making education entertaining. This could be a reason why many football coaches are using his videos in their training for their teams and that his viewers range from the ages of thirteen upwards. He relates that while he was in college studying biology he felt that the classes were slowing down his progression for being so repetitive and boring. Simply put, he realised that a person cannot retain information if they are not interested in it. As lifecoach Tony Robbins, who has coached dozens of the top athletes in the world says, “The best way to educate is to entertain.”
PROFESSIONAL CAREER AND YOUTUBING
Will is an American professional football player who moved to Europe in 2008 and literally played his way through the continent. Enjoying time in a number of European football leagues from the Danish Superliga, Serbian Superliga and Moroccan Superliga. His professional trade is football, which is a game that he has played from a young age. Like many sporty lads, soccer was only one of the sports that he demonstrated a skill for.
“My father played for a Nigerian football team,” he explains, “So that definitely had some influence and during school like many I played the seasonal sports including basketball, American football and soccer and then when I hit highschool I was playing for the USA’s first Under 14 national team.”
In college he stayed for 18 months before playing with the Chicago Fire, then MLS for three years before coming to the Denmark Randers. Then a few different clubs. After fifteen years of playing it is very much a life thing and it’s his main profession. However, this being said, it is his role as an online influencer which has arguably had the biggest impact.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Looking back over the four years since he first started his Youtubing, he says that he can clearly spot the turning points when his channel went from an interesting hobby to a respected brand. He says that the four years are a legacy to organic growth and a consistent commitment to quality.
“At first we were making a video a month on what was basically my own Youtube account,” he says, “Sharing it with friends, family and across social media to the fans of football who came to watch the games.”
Today, his Youtube channel Golumeri, offers several high quality videos produced each week, The length of time taken to produce the videos has dropped significantly with an increase of efficiency and the use of better equipment. When he started however they had no budget and him and his best friends, who are both named Scott served as the before channel inspiration. One of them still appears in videos. However, Brandon Milburn who is a player that Will has coached since he was roughly twelve, was the first member to join up and help film some of the first videos
“If you have a smart phone you’ve got everything you need to create and edit your videos at the start,” he explains, “Even editing is a simple process as long as you have an idea of what you want to achieve.”
There was also the availability of time that he had to deal with early on. Basically playing professional football six days a week and then filming on his days off, it didn’t take long for the videos to gain momentum and it was the responses and commentary and support of the people who saw the videos that helped keep him going.
“It’s the same as having people watching your games,” he explains, “We’re all human and we always work better with encouragement from our peers and supporters.”
Combining these videos, his reputation in the football circles as well as some skills he taught himself on how to market videos it didn’t take long before his channel was earning several hundred subscribers each day. While he was quite satisfied with this, because up until that point it was really just a rewarding way of giving back to the sport he loved, it was when they set up the 21 Day Challenge that he witnessed the impressive jump from a couple of hundred subscribers a day to several thousand.
“We pledged to create a different video every day for twenty-one days,” he says, “And it was a campaign that really got people interested in what we were doing. Our video on the fifth day has over ten million views now!”
While football is still Will’s main profession and will always be until he retires, Golumeri has become a full fledged business producing instructive videos for his thousands of followers and associated podcasts. Not all the content produced revolves around football and he is also involved in diet, general fitness and current topics. His commitment to quality and transparency has in turn attracted the support of a league of Patreon backers supporting the channel and the business.
“We have great relationships with our Patreon backers,” Will says, “And we are always looking at ways to strengthen these relationships and reward their unwavering support.”
He doesn’t sell merch on his channel and this has meant that he is free to discuss the important topics that are affecting not just the world of sport but the world at large. While during our interview he never once referred to himself as an ‘influencer” he certainly has an audience and has never been afraid to speak openly about a number of topics.
Although staying away from political discussions, he has spoken on his channel and his podcasts about topics ranging from cigarettes and health, Lockdown, safety during Covid 19 and the horrific events surrounding George Floyd. Complacency and silence are two things that have caused so much damage already, it is up to those who have an audience to speak openly about these things.
Will and his team had made videos with Manchester United which were filmed prior to Covid 19, and Will reveals that these will be out before the end of June. The channels GoluremiGolaso and GoluremiGirls are up and running and GoluremiEspañol (where Will makes use of his skills with languages, he speaks eight) is set to launch before the end of June 2020.
“Content, quality and progress,” he says, “Just like good football.”
See July’s issue of #Sportsider here.