Danny Flores grew up in Half Moon Bay and other places in the Bay Area, learning to kick a soccer ball while playing in the backyard with his mother. These days the teenager is playing on a much larger field.
Early in high school, he moved to Minnesota to attend Shattuck Saint Mary’s School, a boarding school specializing in football. He brought with him the experience he gained playing for local club teams including Half Moon Bay Mutiny and later Juventus Sport Club in Redwood City.
âMy mother taught me to play,â he said. “I fell in love with the sport when I was young.”
Flores plays in the central defensive midfielder. Defensively, he is aggressive, while offensively, his pass opens up his team’s attack. In all situations, Flores cites her own football IQ and decision making as key parts of her game.
In Minnesota, Flores is busy training. From Monday to Friday, one-third of her nine-period schedule is devoted to soccer. Off the pitch, weightlifting and fitness programs are part of everyday life. On the pitch, Flores and her teammates work on technique with their coaches as well as off the ball. Matches and more practices are recorded for weekends.
Earlier this month, Flores attended a United States National Under-17 Team summit camp in Florida. At the camp, the nation’s top 36 players in Flores’ age group met with coaches affiliated with the US National Team and were immersed in a comprehensive training and practice program. The camp is an opportunity not only for the athletes participating in it, but also for the national team to develop a cohesive unit for the future.
Although at first it was a challenge living across the country, Flores quickly found a supportive community at Shattuck Saint Mary’s School.
âThey really brought me in and I felt comfortable after the first week,â he said, complimenting his classmates, teammates and coaches.
Flores is currently in her second year in high school. After that, he hopes to play football at the college level and continue his involvement with the US national team. Then he hopes to enter the Major League Soccer draft and sign with a team.