Like most sports fans, Will Still dreamt of becoming involved with the sport they love. While most prefer to become highly rated players like their idols, Still was a part of many who became fascinated with building a team to the top of the sport.
Playing games like FIFA, NBA 2K, and Football Manager, some gamers began imagining what would happen if they were in charge of their teams. Almost everyone who plays these games knows that they won’t likely come true and limit their sports management skills within the game.
However, Still is a different breed of a human being. He’s part of the extremely small minority who turned his passion for games into a real career.
This OKBET Sports article will be a fun one. We’ll discuss a person who made every sports management gamer’s dream a reality.
A Career Started by Video Games
William Still was born to English parents who emigrated to Belgium on October 14, 1992. He naturally fell in love with the Beautiful Game as a young English boy.
The future Reims manager was involved in the sport from a very young age, joining the youth team of Sint-Truiden. He continued being around the game even though he didn’t get opportunities to advance his career as a player.
However, one of the things that separated Still from other young English footballers is that a video game had a considerable influence on his career.
Will Still began coaching on the video game Football Manager.
Now he's coaching in the top league in France.
Last night, he managed his club to a draw against a PSG lineup with Messi, Neymar, and Mbappé. pic.twitter.com/GCNsk09zQ1
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) January 30, 2023
Football Manager is a sports management game series where the player chooses a football club out of the hundreds it has on its incredibly intricate database and leads them to domestic and international glory.
These virtual managers scout players, buy outstanding talent, set matchday tactics, and manage the club’s training regimen. It’s as close to actual football management as it would ever get for the legions of devoted players that religiously play the game weekly.
The man revealed he got hooked on Football Manager because his family didn’t allow gaming consoles in their home. Since the sports management game is one you can play on almost any computer, it made sense for Still to try it himself.
The game instilled his interest in coaching, but it took a while before he took active steps toward becoming a manager. During his collegiate years in England, he realized his desire to pursue coaching as a full-time job.
Will Still, the Real-Life Football Manager
Will Still began studying to become a coach at Myerscough College. He became involved with Preston North End’s Under-14 side during his studies there.
After graduating from college, he knocked on the door of every professional football club in Belgium. Most teams saw his lack of experience as a problem and respectfully declined his services.
However, Sint-Truden gave him an opportunity. He managed to convince the head coach of his childhood club, Yannick Ferreira, to give him a job after impressing him with a detailed scouting report of the team’s opposition.
He never let go of the opportunity, quickly establishing himself as a young but talented coach at the club. When he took the Standard Liege coaching job, Ferreira was impressed with the young coach enough to take him to the Belgian team.
Unfortunately, his journey with the team didn’t take long, as the former footballer was sacked from his job. He joined Lierse, becoming an assistant coach and videographer for Frederik Vanderbies.
His days of playing Football Manager finally became a reality with this club. Vanderbies was sacked from his job, and the club’s management chose him as the interim manager. He immediately showed off his chops as the team performed well enough.
However, he wouldn’t stay long with the team. He would jump from one job to another until Stade de Reims called. They were impressed with the training sessions he conducted that they offered him to be Oscar Garcia’s assistant manager.
He accepted the offer and started life at Ligue 1. However, Garcia was eventually shown the door after poor performances saw Reims at risk of relegation.
The Still Revolution at Stade de Reims
Still was again offered the interim head coach role, with the possibility of the job becoming his depending on the club’s performance until the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The young Englishman took the opportunity and stormed the French top flight with his team’s performances.
The team was able to perform well with him in charge. They usually fielded 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, focusing on pressing opponents and launching quick counters. He organized the team enough defensively to stop the bleeding and secure their position.
Les rouges et blancs were also doing well thanks to Arsenal loanee Florian Balogun. The young Englishman is performing well under Still, whose system shares similarities with his parent club’s way of doing things.
However, the biggest draw of the entire thing was how Still’s Reims side managed to produce a draw against Paris Saint-Germain. Against a team that features Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe, Still’s players managed to pull off an equalizer with the last kick of the game.
The team has since continued to make strides in Ligue 1. They currently sit eighth at the table and are more than happy to pay €25,000 every time their talented manager plays due to his lack of the necessary licenses.
What’s Next for Will Still?
With the team ready to push for Conference League play, it’s safe to say that the Will Still experiment is a success. Even his loudest critics can’t deny he’s the real deal in leading a football team.
Premier League teams will be interested in bringing him over after seeing his work in his short career. However, it remains to be seen if the league’s bright lights are something he wants to experience right now.