The world of football is well documented, both on and off of the pitch. The tabloid press deliver gossip, rumours and scandals on every club and player possible within the game, surrounding the players in controversy and added pressure in an already high-intensity profession. Despite this, it's nearly every boy's dream to pull on their favourite team's kit and one day play under the flood lights themselves, but how do you get there?
Well, we've managed to grab an exclusive interview with Partick Thistle's Dan Seaborne, to get the naked truth on becoming a footballer, overcoming the huge hurdles thrown your way and keeping focused when you're surrounded by challenges and distractions. Having been assaulted in the street and told he could never play again, Dan is a highly inspirational player and somebody any aspiring footballer should be looking up to for sheer determination and dedication. So let's see just what it takes to become a professional footballer.
Have there been any moments during your career when you’ve thought that football wasn’t for you anymore? If so, how did you deal with it?
I started playing football from a very young age and have always had a passion for it. I was so driven to have a successful football career, I was delighted to be playing for Southampton in the Championship league at the age of 25. I have never thought football wasn’t for me, however, I did suffer a severe head injury 2 years ago and was told I would never play football again.
This obviously wasn’t my choice and I used that comment to motivate me further to recover and get back on the pitch as soon as possible. Looking back on it, I think I actually went back to training far too early but I was so determined to get back into the career I was so passionate about.
Did you ever prepare for a plan B if your football career didn’t take off?
I never really had a plan B because all my energy was put into playing football, I have played football since I can remember. However, since my head injury my football career has gone backwards, I have had an opportunity to set up a property company alongside my parents. It was never my plan to go into property but the circumstances weren’t as I expected.
What’s your key piece of advice for balancing your career with your family and social life?
My main piece of advice would be to make sure you have the support around you in order to have a successful career. My family have been my rock throughout my entire life, I couldn’t have made my career without them. I also have a great group of friends whom I have known since I was at school, which helps me to remain well-grounded. So overall I think that if you are happy off the pitch then you are happy on the pitch, so ensure you take some chill out time as well as focusing on your career.
The discussion of football being an easy career is often a controversial one; do you think being a modern day professional footballer is easy?
To be honest, being a footballer also comes with sacrifices. It requires so much strength, ambition and determination to keep a football career going. It takes over your entire life so things like Christmas, Easter and Birthdays take a back seat and instead the focus is on football. Though, saying that, the rewards and achievements you can gain through football is the best feeling and it makes all the time worthwhile.
How did you cope with/overcome any setbacks you’ve faced during your career?
As I previously mentioned, two years ago I suffered a serious head injury which caused me to be hospitalised and unable to play football for eleven months. I was told I would never play football again and that I would have to find another career path. I was absolutely devastated because football was the most pivotal part of my life and the thought of losing that was overwhelming.
Prior to my injury, I played every game for Southampton and we were about to be promoted to the Premier league, so receiving the news that I couldn’t play again hit me even harder. The only way I got through it all is the support and care from my family and friends, driving me on and keeping my faith. Nigel Adkins, former manager at Southampton, and Nicola Cortese, chairman at Southampton, also played a huge part in keeping me motivated, along with the rest of my Southampton team mates.
Have you got any final words of wisdom for up and coming players looking for their break?
Just stick at your career throughout every set back, keep your family and friends close and always remember the advice along the way, whether it’s good or bad. Even now, at 27, I haven’t achieved everything I want to and I will keep going to reach my goals. Despite my injury, I will strive to succeed and hopefully get back to the Premier League.