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Where Oh Where is Danny Kirkland? Free Kicks, Sheffield to SF & Billiard Lessons

SF City FC Broadcaster Charles Wollin caught up with set piece specialist and box-to-box midfield man, Danny Kirkland.

So Dan, you’re back?!
I am, it feels like it’s taken forever but it’s great to finally be back in action.

What was the injury and how did you overcome it?
I don’t have a long, scientific answer for you but I slipped a couple of discs in my lower back. It’s taken about six months and a few cortisone injections to get me playing again but I’m feeling good now

You’re from Sheffield and played at Wednesday and Sheffield United. Tell us about your background there.
Sheffield is a massive football city – divided by the two teams. I started out at Sheffield United aged 8 before moving to Wednesday at 12, despite being a lifelong United season ticket holder. The move didn’t go down too well with my family, the rivalry is so fierce that my old man and brother stayed away from my games for a few years. They didn’t want to be near the Sheffield Wednesday stadium (unless we played United).

It’s been said your family has stayed up to watch your matches on live streams from pubs in the area. There may have been a spilt beer or two, or three?
I’m sure they’ve thrown plenty of ale around, that’s for sure – my brother told me that during my time at USF, the local pub erupted when I scored a last minute winner away at St Mary’s. It was about 1am local time there. My mum is a little more sensible, she watches from home

Your left leg is part high end golf club, part….
GPS navigator

Kirkland prepares to take a free kick vs. Burlingame. Photo by Nap Ba.
Kirkland prepares to take a free kick vs. Burlingame. Photo by Nap Ba.

Thoughts on the supporters and “Where oh where is Danny Kirkland?”
The fans at SF City are the best in the PDL and some of the best I’ve ever played for. I’ve no idea how they think up the songs for us but it’s nice to have a couple about myself (that aren’t abuse)! When my playing days are up, you’ll be able to find me banging a drum with the Northsiders.

You’re a set piece specialist, care to tell us a little more about your specific technique?
Eyes closed and just whack it! No, it’s something I’ve always worked on right from an early age – every kid wanted to be David Beckham growing up. But I would always spend a little extra time after training with a bag of balls and an unfortunate goalkeeper.

What players have you looked up to or want to model your game after?
I once got asked this question while at Wednesday for the matchday magazine. I responded with Phil Jagielka (a Sheffield United legend) and the press officer looked at me and told me I’d get beat up if that was published to 30,000 fans. So I went with Frank Lampard – Lampard wasn’t bad was he?

Your real thoughts on Carlos Tevez…
Has Shaun Ramsden put you up to this question? You wouldn’t be able to print my real thoughts on him but let’s just say many people around my area still believe he’s the reason Sheffield United are in the third division!

How’d you initially become involved in SF City FC?
After playing our last year at USF, me and Dave Romney were in between trials/combines and looking for a team to play with so we both played a couple of games with City. I don’t remember the name of the team that Dave went on to sign for but I stuck around because the fans are better here than in LA.

What does it mean to have fellow USF Dons playing with you?
It helps, we’ve all played together for long periods of time and know each other’s game a little better than most. It’s also good for city football and I wish all the boys and staff the best for their upcoming 2016 season.

Sheffield to SF and you’ve stayed here too after finishing school, why? What makes SF special for you?
What a great place to be. At this age, everything you could want is right on your doorstep. I love the work I do, the people and the culture, even the weather is better here than at home. People ask me the best city I’ve been to and for me, it’s here. Obviously that isn’t a biased opinion though.

What are you up to this summer?
I work for a youth soccer club in the city, SF Glens Evolution, so that keeps me busy day to day but hopefully I’ll get a few city visits in. Other than that I’ll try to get on a beach somewhere at some point – I’m pretty well known for my surfing ability

Anything else we should know about you…
Aside from giving the lads private billiard lessons when we were in Utah, I’m also pretty handy on a golf course. You can ask Paddy Coyne, I’ve been teaching him how to play lately and he’s really progressing!