After spending the 2016 NPSL season with Detroit City FC, attacking midfielder Danny Deakin was drafted by Orlando City SC in the third round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.
“I’ve only been here three weeks, but so far it’s been amazing,” Deakin said. “The facilities, the level of play, it’s all so great.”
Deakin started his soccer career on the youth level with Sheffield United in his hometown of Sheffield, England. From there Deakin crossed the pond and spent the 2013 season with the Erie Admirals (now the Erie Commodores) and Deakin made an immediate impact.
“He always acted, trained and played professionally,” Erie Commodores owner John Melody said. “From the time Danny came to play for Erie the summer prior to going to Mercyhurst you knew he had something special.”
And Deakin immediately proved his coach right as Deakin helped lead the then-Admirals to the NPSL national semifinals before being eliminated by eventual champions RVA FC.
Once arriving at Mercyhurst, Deakin received All-American honors in both of his first two seasons, and transferred to South Carolina following his sophomore year.
“(Mercyhurst) was great, it was a good opportunity to play against some top level talent, as some D-II schools are just as good as D-I schools,” Deakin said.
In the summer of 2015, Deakin would return to Erie, now named the Commodores, and would continue his success in the NPSL, recording team-bests in goals and assists, scoring seven goals of his own while setting up six for others.
Deakin credits his 2015 season with the Commodores for setting him up for continued success on the Division I level with South Carolina. In 2015, Deakin started in all 21 matches for the Gamecocks and recorded 11 goals, good enough for second in all of Conference USA. Deakin’s production didn’t stop there, as he recorded seven goals (a team-best) as well as six assists. Deakin’s two seasons in Columbia earned the midfielder as many First-Team All-Conference USA honors.
“The college game is very different from anything I’d ever experienced,” Deakin said, “It’s a very physical and fast game.”
Deakin went on to note how the NPSL prepared him for the rigor of the college game.
“The NPSL has some great quality players and playing over the summer with that kind of competition kept me sharp.”
In 2016, Deakin joined Detroit City FC and continued his successful NPSL career, recording a goal and three assists in nine appearances, with seven being starts. Deakin looks back on his time with Le Rogue with extreme fondness.
“I can’t even put it into words. The passion of the fans was something I had never experienced before, it was like a professional environment every single match.”
The experience in college and the NPSL helped propel Deakin to his selection to Orlando City SC in the third round of the MLS Draft and the 64th selection. While Deakin had high praise for Detroit City FC, DCFC head coach Ben Pirmann had equally high praise for Deakin.
“We are extremely proud and excited for Danny and his future with Orlando City SC. We have a great relationship with their coaching & technical staff and I’m glad that Detroit City FC could help propel Danny to his next step in his journey. He is a great player and a wonderful young man.”
Though Deakin admitted he has only spent a short time with Orlando City SC, he is already learning from some of the world-class players the club has to offer.
“Being around Kaká and Nocerino and really all of the guys has been great, I’m trying to learn from them every day.”
Deakin went on to describe his goals not only for this season, but beyond it.
“Just establish myself in the first team would be my ultimate goal this season and continue to develop and learn from the players and coaches. I know this is just the start and I am going to work as hard as I can to get better and improve my game.”
Given his consistent success across two universities and two different NPSL squads, Deakin’s first couple of weeks with Orlando City SC very well could be just the start will be the first steps to a successful professional career.