Your #StretchYourLimits moment : Interview Danielle Perri
Can you tell us about yourself?
My name is Danielle Perri, I was born and raised in Long Island New York. Currently, I am twenty-five years old and I play semiprofessional soccer with The New York Magic. Within the last year I decided it was time for me to start focusing on my future and I went back to my local community college where I study Communications.
When I’m not in school I certainly have made it my job to keep myself very active. I’m always running around doing something. I truly just enjoy putting a smile on people’s faces and making the world a happier place. I love fitness and helping others. Around eight months ago I faced a lot of adversity, I needed to regain control of myself and my life. I battled with an eating disorder for two years at the time, for eight months now I’ve been in recovery. Through the endless support of my wonderful mother Theresa, family, and friend - I have never been healthier and so determined to continue to keep recovering #GRATEFUL. During my free time I enjoy helping others by posting my personal fitness journey on my Instagram page @lets_work_this_out93 with my target audience for anyone battling eating disorders, but it seems to be enjoyed by all fitness enthusiasts, soccer fans, and so many other people which is awesome. Inspiring and motivating people is truly such a great thing to be able to do. I felt if I could be open with my personal pain and struggles (but how it is possible to overcome) I can help others going through something similar or the same. My goal was just to help one person, I’m happy to say I’ve reached more than that “one person” and continue to reach more every day #HELPOTHERS #BEKIND.
I also help run and promote soccer leagues on the Island. I’m always playing soccer throughout the week and taking my puppy (my not so little - eighty-pound puppy Benaiah) for runs/hikes. I think for me, every day I realized waking up and being healthy is such a blessing and I’m truly thankful to God for that; so in the morning I simply ask myself, “how can I be a better version of the ‘me’ from yesterday?” Whether that’s in regard to health, fitness, soccer, or even in general as a person, I’m always #stretchingmylimits to be the best version of myself.
Growing up I was always active. I watched my older brother Dean play sports and I wanted to be just like him. He inspired me to be the athlete I am today. My father was an All-American Athlete who I was grateful enough to have coach me through my younger years as a soccer player. I certainly can say I developed a “never give up” attitude from him and that’s something I can never thank him enough for #HEART. Through my career with soccer I’ve faced multiple injuries, from two hips fractures to an ACL tear (all before the age of sixteen), and I thank my family from the bottom of my heart for never giving up on what they knew what my passion was #SOCCER.
I truly never expected myself to be here, writing this for PEBAX POWERED, after my injuries I gained a substantial amount of weight (seventy pounds in one year,) and at the time I thought I lost everything I worked my young life for. Through my family’s support and that “never quit” attitude, I made my way back to the field. Now a few years later at twenty-five, with the Grace of God I have been blessed with the opportunity to play for the New York Magic soccer team. #NEVERGIVEUP.
I thank Nino (coach) and Lyndelle (manager) of the New York Magic for giving me the opportunity to play for such an amazing class act organization. A team that they truly always believe in, a team that they genuinely love with their whole hearts, a team that I always want to play ninety minutes for and leave my heart on the field for because of how much they believed in me from the day they first saw me play. #THANKYOU #BLESSED. Also, I would like to give a shout out to the New York Magic as a whole. I love every single girl on that team, and they are all truly family to me #MAGICONTHREE #LEFTHANDIN #ROCKWITHTHEREDROLLWITHTHEBLACK.
What was your biggest #StretchYourLimits moment?
I actually had to call my dad for this question… I had the answer in my head but because my dad has been on this “soccer journey” with me my whole life I was just so curious if he agreed. Last season with the New York Magic we had one heck of a journey. We placed ourselves perfectly so that we would compete for the League Championship and the State Cup Championship. That season we actually called ourselves the “Comeback Kids.” Not typically a nickname I’d like to have for “forever” but for that season it worked! We had a lot of trust and faith within our players that even if we went down a goal or even two, we knew we could find a way to come back. That team had #HEART. I play forward so within that season I did find a lot of pressure alongside my fellow strikers to lift up our defenders and keeper when things got tough. It was the League Championship game and in order to win the League we only needed a tie. With only a few minutes left in the game the other team went up a goal. I never remember feeling so exhausted. It was the end of a season, your body is tired, your mind is tired, you’re emotional, and everything you worked for is on the line. With the team we had, I just remember feeling “there’s no way... there’s no way we leave this game without this championship…” There had to only be maybe two to three minutes left in the game. I remember taking a long hard stare back at my center defender and keeper, and that's when the play developed. It started from the defense who had such a killer game, I mean they played their hearts out… they always did. Paige (our keeper) made some outstanding saves and we had Kristina and Monica holding it down all game in the back. The ball came from the defense to the outside midfielder Miki, and that's when I began my run. Miki took the ball for a little bit, and I remember feeling nothing in my legs, they were burnt out, but I kept pushing, before I knew it everything was slow motion. I almost felt like a wide receiver in a football game catching a ball over the shoulder. I was running and the ball came over my left shoulder landing on top of the left corner of the eighteen-yard box. I had a defender to the left of me and the keeper coming out to the right of me - my only option was to spring myself in the air and half volley the ball. All within milliseconds this happened and I see the ball go in the upper right corner of the net and I just start running through everyone in celebration trying to find the energy to run back to my keeper and central defender to hug them and show them my appreciation for their hard work throughout that whole game. I remember collapsing into my defenders’ arms for a second (I didn’t have too much time, there was still around a minute left to play.) I dropped back to defense for that minute, when the ref blew the final whistle I just fell to the ground from pure exhaustion. That final run to chase that ball into the eighteen-yard box and to score was my biggest #STRETCHYOURLIMITS moment. It wasn’t because I scored… It wasn’t because I was tired… It was because that goal wasn’t just for me. It was for a team, a coaching staff that believed in me from the moment they saw me play, a coaching staff that believed in this team and never gave up, it was for a bigger purpose, a bigger goal, it was for every person that came to cheer the team on, we all deserved that moment. The team did, the coaches did, the fans did. I’m happy we won. I’m happy we had the defense we did; all of those variables gave me the opportunity to have this amazing moment that I forever cherish as #STRETCHINGMYLIMITS #DEFENSEWINSCHAMPIONSHIPS #TEAM.
When Did You Start Playing Soccer?
I started playing soccer once I laid my eyes on a ball… probably around two and half years old. It started out in the backyard with my brother. I then played for the Commack Soccer League, as stated earlier my father (also named Dean) was my coach. He basically made sure that I was always competing at the best level I could be. He wanted me to stretch my limits from a young age. When he thought it was “too easy” for me (before I knew what that even was) he actually made me play on a Division One soccer team with girls two years older than me. I’m very thankful for my father pushing me and making me the competitor I am today.
To fast forward to how I ended up playing with the New York Magic, I truly would say it’s a prime example of why I’m a firm believer of “everything happens for a reason.” I went to support one of my best friends Paige who happened to be playing her second game as Keeper at the time with the Magic. I was just there supporting her on her new journey (cheering like a loud crazy fan) and that’s when Lyndelle (manager) approached me and mentioned how she saw me play in an indoor tournament on Long Island once. She attempted to look for me after that tournament but couldn’t find me. Long story short, the next week I was suited up, playing alongside my best friend Paige, and now I play alongside a full team of best friends. That’s my #FAMILY. #BLESSED.
What is your next big challenge?
Every day I’m in the gym training or at the soccer field/facility playing a game or practicing… I actually think of this question more often than ever. I’ve never trained so hard in my life and been so physically fit and prepared. I would say my next big challenge would be with the New York Magic. After the winter ends our season continues - we have some catching up to do. We need to win and come together, I believe in my heart we will. I know the team and the players and the coaching staff, we have it in us - we need to channel it - we need to want to win. Every team wants to beat us more than anything within the league. We have become “the team to beat.” I want the Championship back. I don’t just want the League Championship back… I want the State Cup back too. I want to able to sit here a say at the end of the season, “hey Pebax Powered, I have a new #STRETCHYOURLIMITS moment that I need to write about!”
A long-term goal I’ve really been contemplating in my head is playing soccer overseas. I’d love to be able to do that with MY team. Last year we almost went to Europe for a tournament, I’m hoping we get a chance similar to that and can make it happen. #TRAVELGOALS.
How important is the choice of your shoes as a soccer player?
Cleats are super important to me! I value a cleat that is lightweight for speed and agility, smooth for good touch on the ball/shot, and I like a cleat that is going to support my foot for comfort as well. I don’t know if I have found the perfect match yet. Currently I have three pairs of cleats and it all depends on the day for which pair I’ll wear. Sometimes at half time I’ll even change my cleats (that’s just a superstition issue haha.) I recently saw the Mizuno Rebula 2 V2 Mix Cleats on the Pebax Powered Instagram account and I’m extremely tempted to make them my new cleat of choice! #PEBAXPOWERED.
Now that I’m doing so much running and training in the gym, I need to do a better job at searching for a “running shoe.” I think my new friend and Champion Marathon runner, Ido Simyoni might have a few suggestions for me! #PEBAXPOWEREDATHLETES
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