‘To shine beneath the floodlights’
Like many young lads, Dan Sheehan had his eyes locked on ‘the beautiful game’ since he could walk. But unlike many his age, scouts soon had their eyes on him too, so while football practice started in the streets of Swansea, it soon paved its way into a professional football environment.
“I just always wanted to work in elite sports”
Following two years in the youth academy, Dan was selected by Manager Roberto Martinez and offered a one-year professional contract, at Swansea City FC. An experience many footballers could only dream of, backed by his talent, this dream became a reality “It was brilliant to be around elite athletes for a whole year, it was amazing.”
Dan's football journey later stretched to the other side of the world, having finished his professional contract at age 21 and off the back of teaching and coaching in Swansea, Dan's professionalism and technical ability was harnessed elsewhere and was now playing semi-pro for Australian club Moreland FC. So, while many people will be flagged for offside in their pursuit for a career in the world of football, Dan's initiative to achieve his goals stand testimony to his ongoing hard work and drive to better himself and those around him. Upon his return to football in Swansea, he was now training and in pursuit of becoming a personal trainer “I’m always looking for the next thing I want to do, to be better and better myself, but my mind can go a hundred miles an hour and I can leave me feeling lost. But it’s football that keeps me going and keeps me looking ahead.”
Present-day at age 29, Dan is one of our most valued sports scholars and established leaders within Swansea University's football academy. A football and strength and conditioning coach, he is a respected role model to those around him. “I’m currently in a role that I want to be a part of for life. So, it’s giving me a chance to implement skills that I’m learning on my course whilst also gaining my degree.”
“My scholarship was a massive factor in why I came to university. For people like me who have sport commitments which can clash with your studies, it takes the pressure off you to allow you to focus your attention. The use of parking and facilities between campuses really helps for both my work and training.”
A team sport that encourages togetherness has the power to bring unite people of all ages, Dan shared his own experience having joined the university as an older student. “Football allowed me to build deeper connections with people, it’s really helped me to integrate because the sport was my common ground so while I know its cliché, I’ve made friends for life.”
A true gentleman whose love for the game would inspire and promote the growth of any player looking to climb the ladder of professional football, as he has. When asked to reflect on his proudest football moments, Dan shared a stand-out memory playing for Swansea boys U15s playing in a cup final at Anfield “It was unreal, such a great atmosphere”
In the future, we have no doubt Dan will be working and leading the development of talented athletes. Swansea University is privileged to be playing a small part to support Dan on his road to success.