Just four days shy of his sixteenth birthday Daniel De Silva made his professional debut for Perth Glory. A couple of months later at the FIFA Under 20s World Cup he was named man of the match when Australia played Columbia. This year the eighteen-year-old signed to AS Roma in one of the largest transfer deals in Australian history. To top it all off just months ago Daniel was called up for Australian soccer’s highest honour—the Socceroos. This month Limit’d managed to track Daniel down in-between strict training regimens to find out just how this kid from Perth is conquering the world.
Do you remember the first time you played with a football?
Probably when I was five years old and I was playing in my first game. I scored four goals but my fifth was disallowed because we didn’t have nets on the goals. Everyone said that the ball went through the side, but I knew it went in.
You started playing professionally when you were fifteen, was that a lot of pressure?
Whenever I play I try and enjoy it as much as I can, as if I was playing at the park with my mates. Obviously some games are bigger than others and the nerves are always there, but as long as I go out there with a smile and enjoy myself I’m happy.
Do you have psych up music that you listen to before you play?
Yeah I have my top-secret playlist that I listen to before every match. It’s very hip-hop and rap focused music that gets me really in the mood for a game. I also have some soothing R&B to keep me relaxed in the build up to kick off.
What did it feel like getting called up to play for Australia?
It was one of the best feelings ever! I was actually doing a Nike photoshoot at the time I got the call. After I received the good news I was smiling in every photo!
What was the highlight of your world cup experience?
That would have to be when I scored against Columbia, especially being the youngest player at the tournament and one of the youngest players ever.
With your move to AS Roma now complete, what parts of Italian life are you most excited to experience?
There are a lot of things that I’m excited about moving to Italy for. Obviously the football is great and the club is so fantastic, and who could forget the food! Pasta and a good pizza are some of my favourite foods ever so I think I’ll be in food heaven. Also the amazing architecture, it’s such a beautiful city.
Will we get a chance to see you in the upcoming International Champions Cup in Melbourne?
I’ve been asked to be a part of that squad and will more than likely be joining them in Melbourne for the tournament. It would be great to be able to feature for Roma in Australia.
Are you always thinking about football?
Football is a big part of my life but there are times where you just need to switch off, take time to do other things with your family and friends and live a good lifestyle.
If you weren’t playing football for a living what do you think you’d be doing?
I’ve been asked this question a lot and to be honest with you I’ve never thought about it. I can’t imagine doing anything else but playing this beautiful game.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Still playing in Europe for a big club and hopefully securing a spot in the Socceroos. And still having a great passion for the game.
Are you much of a sneaker head?
[Laughs] Yes, biggest sneaker head ever! My favourite type of shoes are Jordan’s. I have about 15–20 pairs of them and some are still in the box. I’ll probably continue to collect them and pass them on to my kids eventually.
Words by Mitch Parker
Photography by Chad Gibson