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Melanius Daniel Mullarkey was born in Saint Lucia, his family from Soufriere and central Castries. But he moved to the United Kingdom in 2002, at the age of 10. And it was then that his story really started.
Up to that point, Danny had had no real sporting interest, but the culture of the British school system awoke something in him.
“I didn’t know nothing about football,” says the 23-year-old. “I got lessons off some of my friends at school, I then went on sites to know the rules and learn how to play, as years went on I then played Sunday league.”
From Sunday League, he was scouted for Birmingham City, played five years with their youth setup, then moved on to to Coventry. Now firmly bitten by the football bug, he travelled to Cyprus to play for a Division 2 team, Lamasol.
Returning to the United Kingdom, where his son – TJ – was born last year, Danny has also played with teams including Banbury United and Corby Town, but he is looking forward to settling down as early as next season.
A right-sided defender, Danny was pleased to get the opportunity to come back home to join the men’s national team. He linked up with them this week, ahead of the Windward Islands tournament, where Saint Lucia are defending champions.
“My football journey has been really good, coming to England, not knowing what the sport was,” he says. “At first, I basically trained myself and got help off some friends to know how to play football.
“But my future plans in the sport is to make it as a professional footballer. This opportunity to play internationally will open plenty of doors for me and also it will give me great experience.
“I wanted to play for Saint Lucia because it’s my hometown, I love my country from the bottom of my heart and playing and representing them is the best thing that will ever happen to me.”
Danny says he was “over the moon” when he was contacted by the technical staff of the national team. Arriving just five days before the competition, which kicks off next Tuesday, he knows there is a lot to get used to , but he is looking forward to the challenge.
Another challenge, he says, may just be getting used to the time difference, as the team will essentially be preparing to take the field right about when he would already be fast asleep in the United Kingdom.
“Hopefully it will be alright once we get in some training,” he says with a laugh. “But I won’t even think about it. My head will be on the game and what I have to do in training so no time to be thinking about the timing.”
Saint Lucia’s first game will be on Tuesday evening against Dominica at the Philip Marcellin Grounds in Vieux Fort.