Talented soccer players Billy Wingrove and Jeremy Lynch met in 2010 through their shared passion for soccer trick shots. The duo created their YouTube channel F2Freestylers in 2011 and the rest is history.
Whether in the form of a soccer tutorial, prank or challenge, the two friends impress their audience of more than six million with equal parts humor and raw athletic ability. We sat down with both Billy and Jeremy to discuss their social media journey thus far, how they approach creating videos and sponsored content, and more.
1. What were you both doing before you started F2 Freestylers? What inspired you to make soccer trick videos on YouTube?
B: After playing up to Academy level at Tottenham, I became the first ever football freestyler to be contracted to the club.
J: I was also playing Academy level football at Arsenal and then started to perform as a football freestyler, making it to the Finals of Britain’s Got Talent.
B: We met in 2010 and decided to join forces as The F2 and viewed YouTube as the perfect home for our style of content.
2. How does your creative process differ when making a tutorial, challenge video, or humorous skit?
J: We have great chemistry and therefore coming up with fresh or unexpected ideas seems to come naturally. For a tutorial, we break it down step by step and are quite methodical, but for the banter side of things we just have a laugh and try not to overthink it too much.
3. What factors, both tangible and intangible, make up an engaging soccer trick shot video? How long does the process of turning an idea into a published video typically take?
B: We think some of our best videos come from the times we have been topical and jumped on a real world moment. For instance, if Messi scores an amazing goal, then we want to do something that replicates that in our own way for our fans. We are quite spontaneous, so we’ll book in some time, roughly storyboard the shoot and then start trying things on camera.
The process can take all day, as we like to produce plenty of content to play with in the final version we publish and also to live on other channels, for example on Instagram as a teaser to the main video on YouTube. We typically shoot for 3-4 hours and then edit for about the same amount of time.
4. You’ve collaborated with major brands among the likes of Buffalo Wild Wings and Turkish Airlines. How do you choose which brands to partner with and ensure your audience will love sponsored content?
J: We always try to work with brands that come to the table with some great ideas or give us some creative freedom to come up with the ideas for ourselves.
It is also exciting to work with brands that have sponsorships with big-name players and events, within the UK and internationally. If we can bring all of those elements together into something compelling, we know our fans tend to love it.
5. What are three things you’ve learned about YouTube since launching F2 Freestylers?
B: We learned very early on the power of collaboration. Like in any industry, you need to network and be open to working with new people, both fellow creators on YouTube and other individuals who can elevate your content (production teams, brands etc.).
J: We recognized that you need to stay ahead of the game, so shooting plenty of quality content to ensure we can post regularly and engage our audience each week.
B: You need to stay close to YouTube itself. We have a relationship with the platform and other partners to ensure we stay up to date with any new innovations coming down the line and try to be the first to utilize that on our channel.
6. How does your thought process differ when creating content for Instagram versus content for YouTube?
B: Producing great content for Instagram is almost harder in a way, as it needs to immediately grab you and land the moment, be it something funny, a clever one-liner or piece of skill.
With YouTube, you can take your time to build a story. We put as much work into Instagram content as we do YouTube, to be honest.
7. Lightning round:
Most underrated pro soccer player right now?
B: Ander Herrera.
J: Anthony Martial.
Three things you’d bring with you to a deserted island?
B: My wife and kids (does that count as one?), a football and some sun cream.
J: My missus, a piano and a football.
Most overused soccer maneuver?
B: Cruyff turn.
J: Long ball over the top.
Instagram or Snapchat Stories?
B: Instagram Stories.
8. The F2 brand has grown into a book, a clothing line, and a mobile app. Any other mediums you’d like to explore in the future?
B: We are always looking for new ventures and ideas, especially involving doing more with our fans and looking at opportunities in the U.S. and Asia.
9. Where do you see F2 Freestylers in five years?
J: World’s biggest YouTubers with at least two major new projects live.
10. As the new year approaches, any upcoming projects that fans should get excited for?
B: It’s a World Cup year and our partnership with Adidas will ensure we have some amazing experiences leading up to and out in Russia. We have two other projects in development which will allow us to work more closely with the next generation of talent out there. Can’t say more than that, but stay tuned!
This interview has been edited for clarity.