Will has been making waves in the football world of late, after he was appointed manager of the Ligue 1 side Stade de Reims in October 2022 with the club facing relegation. He’s since led them to a 20-game streak with only 2 losses, taking two points against French giants PSG home and away and bringing Reims up into 10th in the league table.
It all started when Belgium born and raised, Will decided to get into coaching after finishing studying in England and realised that he wasn’t himself going to make it as a professional footballer. To Will, coaching was the closest adrilliline buzz he could get to actually playing the game so decided to go down the coaching route.
During Will’s study, he was given the chance to work with English Championship side Preston North End’s U14 side and really fell in love with coaching there. He was able to coach talented players within a very professional environment and found his calling to his role as a coach.
Arriving back to Belgium after his English experience, he didn’t want to do anything else but coach. He ending up knocking on the door at every professional club looking for an opportunity. After hearing 26 no’s one coach gave him a foot in the door asking Will if he would be able to film and analyse a game. He took the opportunity with a deep motivation to do well and impressed the club and coach so much they wanted to offer him a position at the club, St Truiden with Yannik Ferreira.
After three years at STVV being the assistant coach there, he was given an opportunity to be the assistant coach at fellow second division side FC Lisse thanks to Yannik Ferreira. Lisse got off to a terrible start to the season being bottom of the league after 6 games and the coach got sacked.
The Owner of the club rang up Will right away and told him “Will, you’re doing it!”. Will humbly made his opinions be known that he thought he didn’t deserve the opportunity yet given his fellow assistant coaches had more experience than he did but the owner convinced him and that was that, he was the head coach for Lisse at 24 years of age.
After an impressive start to his head coaching journey, Will’s world flipped on its head. Going from being a person that no one really knew to being stopped on the street and being on TV every week, people speaking about him. He thought to himself that this is just crazy! At 28 he moved to Beerschot where he faced a similar situation with the coach being fired, he became the head coach and ended up finishing the league in 9th place.
After the season the owners of Beerschot didn’t believe that Will could handle the pressure of the next season being head coach so the mutually decided to cancel their contract together. Then Reims came directly knocking on his door 10 days later with the General Director calling him up offering him the assistant coach role under Oskar Garcia in the French top tier.
He remembers the day clearly, receiving a phone call from the club that Oscar has now been fired. Reims told Will the conditions of his contract, that he had to stay and they want him to take over the head coaching role while they could find a replacement. He grasped the opportunity with two hands and got off to a fantastic start. So much so that Reims wanted to offer Will the position permanently which was another weird pinch me type of moment for Will.
If someone would’ve told a younger Will that he would be the head coach of a League 1 side, he would’ve slapped them because that is totally ridiculous. Will has never set himself any limits or any goals but will take any opportunity that his career throws at him.
Being a West Ham fan, he would love to coach them one day! Winning a champions league or a major trophy with them would be an absolute dream!