|During the 2015 Dave Shelton semi-final game between FC Heat BU15 and FC Heat BU14, young Danny Smuts suffered a spinal stroke. The final in this bracket was postponed until we found out the severity of Danny’s injury. That game has now been re-arranged for Saturday, March 19, 2016.
The boys on both teams are FC Heat players and decided collectively that they wanted to dedicate the final to Danny and his family, regardless of which team wins.
Danny Smuts Jr. grew up wearing an FC Heat uniform and moved through from Rec to All-Stars, to Competitive in the blink of an eye. Danny Sr. did the same, only as a coach. Danny’s older brother Drew was one of Heat’s better players in the years he spent with us, and their youngest Jacob is currently moving swiftly through Rec with his dad coaching. Mom too has spent many of her days managing and fund raising for Heat teams.
It was obvious that Danny would make a great player wherever he played, but he and his family always felt that FC Heat and Escondido Soccer Club were their home.
Steve Yorke, our Director of Coaching remembers Danny in a Dave Shelton game when he was 11-years-old, “I remember that game clearly,” he said, ” as I had decided to play Danny up front coming in from both wings. He scored 3 goals in about 10 minutes, one with his left, one with his right and one with his head. The team we played was quite strong and their coach wanted to know all about him after the game.”
|BU12 Champions – Danny standing to the left of Evan the keeper
It is not just Danny’s playing ability that impresses, it is his infectious personality. Many would think that being confined to a wheelchair would have a negative effect on one’s world, but not Danny Smuts Jr.
I recently tuned in to a radio broadcast from Children’s Hospital in San Diego, and of course the presenter interviewed a number of patients. Not surprisingly, I hear young Danny’s voice across the airwaves telling everyone about all the positives that have happened to him since he has been involved with Children’s. Not once did he feel sorry for himself or for others around him. The presenter was so in awe of his wonderful attitude that he said this, “This is the first time I have met this young man, but when he talks about what is possible for him it brings tears to my eyes. And I know, Danny ” he said, “That whatever you decide to do in life you will achieve. I have never met such a positive young man as you.”
We decided to schedule the game on a Saturday afternoon and make a nice, social day of it. Hamburgers and hot dogs will be served and our world famous taco stand will be serving Mexican food. What more could you ask for?
Come join us in celebrating this final, it will give young Danny a big boost on his road to full recovery. And please, spread the word!