Sports Spotlight - West Orange Times & Observer: Daniel Southerland

Daniel Southerland is a model athlete for Firestorm FC Soccer League in Winter Garden.

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  • | 10:00 a.m. May 24, 2018
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Daniel Southerland, 16, is what Firestorm SC coach and director Joe Gitto describes as the embodiment of the league’s ideals: exemplifying good sportsmanship toward others and enthusiasm for the game. Southerland was a leader on his team — the Black Team — last season, which ended May 19.


How long have you been playing soccer?

I’ve been playing since I was 5 or 6 years old. I just love the game — it’s beautiful. 


What do you enjoy about playing for Firestorm?

It’s fun. … I was once in another league, and I came to this league just to have fun, because I’d lost having fun.


What was your favorite memory from this past season?

Meeting new friends. A bunch of my teammates, they’re now friends. I made some friends from other teams, too.


What do you need to improve about your game?

It’s always the first touch — the first touch is everything. No matter what, you have to practice on your first touch.


Are you a big soccer fan?

I’m a big soccer fan. My favorite team is Real Madrid, and my favorite player is Cristiano Ronaldo. He’s so selfless. ... Also, he’s the best — he’s such a great player, and he never gives up.


Are you also an Orlando City Soccer Club fan?

Yes — when Ricardo Kaka came, I was like, “Oh my gosh, this team is going to be the greatest.” The team is still good without him, I think. … I went to a game, and it was crazy. It was amazing, and I liked the atmosphere.


What was your favorite class this year at Windermere High?

World History, and it was taught by Janel Greer. She’s very nice, and I just love history — she’s such a great teacher. The most interesting things we learned about were World War I and World War II.


What are you looking forward to the most about the summer?

I’m looking forward to the trips I’ll be taking — I’m going to Las Vegas then Los Angeles. Toward the late-summer, I’m going to Europe. First, I think I’m going to Germany, and I’ll then go to the United Kingdom. 


Are you going to make any soccer-related stops while in Europe?

I’m going to visit the Old Trafford — it’s a very nice stadium, and I want to go see it.


What do you think you would like to study in college?

I want to get a law degree.


Do you have any hobbies outside of soccer?

I like to edit videos and play video games.


Did you hear Laurel or Yanny?

It’s different — during the day, closer to the morning, I hear “Yanny.” Right after school, I hear “Laurel.” 


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