It has happened to everyone. At some stage growing up, you would have been asked: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Of course, at that age we shoot for the moon: the next President, an astronaut or the next Cristiano Ronaldo.
Time passes and our goals become condensed and more “realistic.”
Not for young Dauntae Mariner, who at the tender age of 10 decided he would become a professional football player and has worked tirelessly since then to make it a reality.
Fast forward six years, now at the age of 16, Mariner is closer than ever to living his dream.
He arrived on shore last Sunday evening and is on island as a trialist for a spot on the U17 National team that will be travelling to Tahiti next month for the O.F.C championship.
Mariner is a star for sure, as one of the only triaists whose trained under a professional club.
In 2015, Mariner got the opportunity of a life time to trial for the English Football League Champions, the Blackburn Rovers.
The Rovers have a high pedigree and only recruit the best.
The coaches were so impressed with Mariner, they offered him at scholarship at their Football Academy, but had to decline the offer due to issues with his visa.
Since then, Mariner had to make heaps of sacrifices to make his dream into a reality, even dropping out of school to be a fulltime footballer.
He said his expirence in the UK was a great learning curve.
As the only Samoan in the team he has adjusted well to the team dynamics.
“In 2015, I got the chance to go overseas to Blackburn Rovers and experience and trial there and I got into the team. It was good, a lot of the boys who were in the team were all English except me and another kid who was Canadian. It was different but we adjusted and learned a lot as well,” he said.
Life of a football player is actually a full time job. A day in Mariner’s cleats consist of training twice a day, “In at 8 and out 5,” he stated.
Although he is only 16, Mariner exudes the maturity of athletes twice his age and has a dream and plan to execute his goals. He states his future goals is to sign a professional contract soon, hopefully with Blackburn.
It’s been a long time coming for this young star. He stated that it was his dad who got him into the sport. “I was about 6 years old and my dad just started playing me and said have a go because I needed to do a sport. That’s where it all started,” Mariner said.
Since that fateful day, Dauntae’s love for football has only grown stronger. He is a proud Samoan and excited to hopefully represent his heritage on the world stage.
Born and raised in Australia, this is Mariners first time in the land of his ancestors and he is absolutely ecstatic as ever to be here.
He said that one of the boys who is already on the team reached out to him to come and trial for Samoa.
Mariner stated, “one of the boys who is on the team already messaged me and said you should come ad trial for the Samoa U17 team. Dad looked into it and now we’re here.”
The striker will definitely be one to watch on the pitch.