Bangor, Caernarfonshire born centre forward Bill Lewis began his football career with Bangor Rovers in 1881 and played for Bangor City from 1882. He joined Everton ahead of their first season in the Football League and made his debut in Everton’s inaugural League match, a 2-1 victory over Accrington at Anfield on 8th September 1888. He played twice more for The Toffees the same month, scoring in a 6-2 defeat at Bolton Wanderers, after which he was dropped, returning to Bangor City in January 1889. Lewis was described by one source as, ‘a speedy forward and very clever – does not use sufficient judgement’.
He joined Crewe Alexandra later the same year and moved to Chester in 1892, After a considerable spell out of League football he signed for Second Division Manchester City in the 1896 close season, scoring on his debut in a 4-1 win over Darwen in September, and following up with another goal in a 3-0 win over Lincoln City. However he scored only twice more, losing his place in November and having three more matches in January 1897, before returning to Chester in 1898 after 4 goals in 13 appearances for The Citizens.
Lewis made his international debut for Wales in an international in a 1-1 draw against England at Leamington Road, Blackburn, Lewis scoring the Welsh goal. He gained 13 Welsh caps whilst with Chester, which remained a club record for more than 100 years. His record was broken when Angus Eve was capped 35 times for Trinidad & Tobago, although for 24 of these caps he was on loan away from Chester, and thus Lewis could still be argued to be the record holder. In total Lewis won 27 caps for Wales between 1885 and February 1898, when he played his last international in a 1-0 defeat to Ireland at The Oval, Llandudno, scoring 8 goals for his country. His record number of caps for his country was subsequently passed by Billy Meredith.