Freestyle footballer becomes online sensation thanks to fancy footwork
Freestyle footballer, 21, who became a viral sensation thanks to videos of his fancy footwork reveals he’s NEVER opened his A-Level results because it would feel like ‘accepting his plan B’
- EXCLUSIVE: Tom Nolan, also known as TNFreestyle, is a freestyle footballer
- He has so far made a name for himself online thanks to his viral football videos
- Many of the Luton-based 21-year-old’s clips have reached over 28million views
A freestyle footballer has revealed he’s never opened his A-Level results as he strives to continue as an online sensation.
Tom Nolan, 21, also known as TNFreestyle, from Luton, is a freestyler who has so far made a name for himself in the sports industry thanks to his viral football videos – with many of his clips reaching more than 28million views.
And only if his luck runs out will Tom, who has 51,200 followers on Instagram, reveal his college grades, having decided to leave his results unopened while he continues with his dream career.
His latest clip – which saw Tom effortlessly catch a football between his thigh and calf after it was kicked from some distance – scored more than half a million likes on one of the UK’s biggest football Instagram pages, 433.
But Tom’s career in football nearly came crashing down after he injured his ankle ligaments in 2018 – leaving him unable to perform.
Thankfully, Tom, who is also an Adidas Athlete, recovered in December 2019 and is now raring to make videos again – although he insists he never wants to dilute his social media accounts with endless posting.
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Tom Nolan (pictured), 21, from Luton, is a freestyle footballer who has so far made a name for himself in the sports industry thanks to his viral videos – with many of his clips reaching more than 28million views
Only if his luck runs out will Tom (pictured), who has 51,200 followers on Instagram, read his A-Level grades, having decided to leave his results unopened while he continues with his dream career
Obsessed with his sport as a child, Tom said he grew up with the reputation of being a technically gifted footballer but didn’t have the motivation to play as part of a team.
Instead, he practised his skills, ‘learning more and more to show off’ from fellow freestylers The F2 Freestylers, who shared their tricks on social media.
Eventually, Tom’s friends encouraged him to do the same so he made one video during his last year of secondary school and ‘never planned for it go online’.
But his mother, Yvonne, had different ideas and posted the clip to her Facebook account – with it quickly amassing more than 20,000 views within hours.
The popularity of the footage quickly sparked Tom into action and he started building his own platform and creating more content, showcasing his impressive football ability in short, easily digestible videos.
His latest clip – which saw Tom (pictured) effortlessly catch a football between his thigh and calf after it was kicked from some distance – scored more than half a million likes on one of the UK’s biggest football Instagram pages, 433
But Tom’s (pictured in Venice) career in football nearly came crashing down after he injured his ankle ligaments in 2018 – leaving him unable to perform
Recalling the moment he discovered his first video was online, Tom told FEMAIL: ‘The second I found out I ran straight to my mum wanting her to delete the video, I was actually embarrassed at the time and looking back I have no idea why.
‘She said she would delete it as Year 11 me thought his mum posting a video was the worst thing ever, but said to me it has like 20,000 views, so many comments and shares and made me have a look.
‘At this point my whole view on it changed. All the comments were supportive and while I still wanted her to delete it, I straight away had made my own page and re-posted it so I got all the credit. That’s where my TNFreestyle accounts started.
‘The views were going up and up – it was a surreal time, I’ll never forget it. After the video, everyone was talking about it in school, even teachers were coming up to me saying they didn’t know I was “that good”.’
Tom added: ‘There and then in my head I was just all in on turning that into a career somehow. I didn’t know how but I knew somehow I would do it.
Thankfully, Tom (pictured) recovered in December 2019 and is now raring to make videos again – although he insists he never wants to dilute his social media accounts with endless posting
‘I was going to turn this into a career and I wasn’t interested in anything but that – nobody could get through to me to about any sort of Plan B. I even tried to convince my mum to let me ditch college and just make football videos instead.’
However, Tom’s parents didn’t share his enthusiasm at first and encouraged him to stick with his education, with the freestyler doing both college and his football clips on the side.
But soon, the sportsman was approached by Adidas to appear in one of the brand’s adverts before becoming a Adidas Athlete. He was invited to various high-profile events, such as meeting the Chelsea team at their training ground.
Tom admitted that it meant this college attendance hit less than 50 per cent at one point and he missed one of his exams by an hour (but was thankfully allowed to take it at a later time).
Yet following his success with Adidas and on his Instagram account, Tom was confident he could continue supporting himself with this career – which saw him being flown to LA on pre-season tour with Manchester United FC to train with the first team players.
As such Tom refuses to open his A-Level results as he feels like that will accepting a ‘plan B and proving everyone who said I needed a back-up plan right’.
Obsessed with his sport as a child, Tom (pictured training with the Manchester United team) said he grew up with the reputation of being a technically gifted footballer but didn’t have the motivation to play as part of a team
Instead, Tom (pictured) practised on his skills, ‘learning more and more to show off’ from fellow freestylers The F2 Freestylers, who shared their tricks on social media
‘To this day I have never opened my college results,’ he admitted. ‘I don’t think I’ve failed but I genuinely have no idea what they could be, they just sit on my desk unopened.
‘I think everything at that time was going so well for me to the point that I felt like opening them was like accepting a plan B – proving everyone who said I needed a back-up plan right.
‘But for me, there never was a plan B, all my eggs were in one basket ever since the first video. I was all in on making it with the football, failing wasn’t really an option.
‘The hardest part was trying to get my mother off my case about my results. She wanted and still does want to know even more than I do.’
But despite the footballer’s confidence, he confessed that he did worry about being a ‘one hit wonder’ at first, although he no longer has those concerns.
Tom pictured during his teenage years alongside one of his idols, retired footballer and television pundit Rio Ferdinand
‘I’ve been in the game for a while now and have fortunately done some things that give me the room to do what I want a bit more… but I still have to make sure my videos get better and better.
‘I film videos all the time that people will never see because they’ll be good but I just don’t think they meet the crazy high standards I have when it comes to posting.
‘I want anything associated with TNFreestyle to strictly be the best of the best when it comes to football. The goal is if you see my name associated with it, it’s a football clip worthy of going viral!’
He continued: ‘I’m not interested in grabbing as much short term money as possible. I started TNFreestyle because it was a high school dream and loads of fun, I never thought I’d have the following or be in the position I am.
‘Over the last few years I’ve learnt it really is quality over quantity. There’s nothing worse on Instagram than influencers whose every post is an ad, they just start sounding like a robot after a while.’
But Tom’s career in football nearly came to an abrupt end after he injured his ankle ligaments in 2018.
Thankfully, Tom recovered by December 2019 and made his comeback top bin video, shooting a football into a container attached to a goal post, which racked up 10million views in the first 25 days of posting – despite Tom’s fears he would no longer be an online hit.
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