Like many young lads, Dan Sheehan was transfixed by ‘the beautiful game’ as soon as 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 saw him enter a professional football environment. “I just always wanted to work in elite sports,” says Dan.
Following two years in the youth academy, Dan’s talent made his dreams a reality when he was selected by manager Roberto Martinez and offered a one-year professional contract at Swansea City Football Club. “It was brilliant to be around elite athletes for a whole year,” says Dan. “It was amazing.”
Dan's football journey continued, when, having finished his professional contract aged 21, and off the back of teaching and coaching in Swansea, he went semi-professional for Australian club, Moreland FC.
Now back at Swansea, Dan is one of the University’s most valued sports scholars; he is currently in his third year of a Sports and Exercise Science degree at the University, and is also a football and strength and conditioning coach and established leader within Swansea University’s football academy. “I’m currently in a role I want to be a part of for life,” he says, “plus it’s giving me a chance to implement skills I’m learning during my degree.”
Speaking about his sports scholarship, Dan said: “My scholarship was a massive factor in why I came to University. For people like me who have sport commitments which can clash with studies, it takes the pressure off to allow you to focus your attention. The use of parking and facilities between campuses really helps for both my work and training.”
Dan has been keen to share his own experience having joined the University as an older student. “Football has allowed me to build deeper connections with people at the University and really helped me to integrate. The sport was my common ground and while I know it’s a cliché, I’ve made friends for life.”
In his training role, Dan will no doubt be working and leading the development of talented athletes for the future. Swansea University is privileged to be playing a small part in supporting Dan on his road to success.
Find out more about Swansea University’s Sport Scholarships