BRADEN RIVER — From the moment he stepped onto the field, all eyes were on Danny Lane.
Every shot the Braden River High junior forward attempted or pass he made was scrutinized.
For 10 days, the 16-year-old felt the pressure to perform to the best of his ability; he recognized this could be his only shot to move one step closer to pursuing his dream of playing professional soccer.
Lane traveled Aug. 7 to Germany for a professional tryout with the 2nd Bundesliga, the second division of professional football (soccer) in Germany, which is below the Bundesliga in the German football league system.
Lane was selected to participate in the tryout after a scout spotted him playing club soccer for the Clearwater Chargers Academy team.
“I was excited (to go), but I had to work harder before I went to get in better shape,” Lane said. “I had to be a lot more focused.
“The soccer was good,” Lane said. “It was a lot faster there than it was here. Technically, they were better. It was a beautiful place, and I fit in well. Overall, it was a great experience.”
Following the tryout, Lane was invited to come back for a second round of training. He could be called back anytime between now and May to fly, to Germany for his second tryout.
If he continues to get better, Lane could be offered a position on the team. At that point, Lane would move to Germany, where he would attend school and stay with a host family until he turns 18 and is allowed to sign a contract.
“Everything revolves around soccer over there,” Lane said. “You’re always being watched, but I like being under pressure. It helps me perform, get to the next level and play better.”
Lane began playing soccer about 13 years ago after his dad handed him a soccer ball. He was encouraged to play other sports, as well, but soccer proved to be the sport that stuck.
“It’s pretty much my life now,” Lane said.
Lane started playing club soccer in Orlando when he was 8 years old. By the time he was 12, Lane knew he wanted to be a professional soccer player.
Lane spent the past two years playing soccer for the Pirates and the Clearwater Chargers Academy; but he will forgo his high school season this winter and play solely for the Chargers with the hope of improving his game enough to land a spot on Bundesliga’s roster.
“The competition was great,” Lane said. “I’m looking forward to going back. I’m very anxious. I’m just ready.”
Contact Jen Blanco at firstname.lastname@example.org.