Grassroots Hall of Fame Inductee #5: Danielle White
Clubs: LFA Dynamos
League: Clapham Women’s Football League
By Jon Eager
In each issue, we celebrate a player who deserves to have their grassroots career up in lights by inducting them into The Grassroots Post Hall Of Fame. For Issue 5, it’s Danielle White.
Danielle began her football journey in South London by playing with the boys at primary school, where she more than held her own. Aged fifteen, Danielle began playing in the Morden Little League on Saturdays and won the League Trophy in 2006.
Once school came to an end, Danielle had a short break from football. However, like most people who live and breathe the beautiful game, Dani couldn’t stay away forever and got back into the game in 2014 following the birth of her daughter. She joined the LFA Dynamos team at the London Football Academy. She instantly impressed, was made captain within months of joining, and hasn’t looked back since.
Over the course of six years Danielle has captained the side to two league titles and a major cup win in the Clapham Women’s Football League. Dani was also a part of the side that won the league in 2017, but as she left midway through the season to have her second child, she graciously doesn’t add this to her trophy haul. During the 2019 CWSFL Cup Final against Franchester United, she inspired her team to their first major cup win. Dani kept a clean sheet alongside her fellow defenders and also converted a penalty as her side stormed to a 5-0 win.
To take several years out of the game and then pick up like you never left off is a real testament to Dani’s character and shows what an asset she is to the London Football Academy. In 2021 she was appointed manager of LFA Galaxy, a development team within the Academy. The decision to appoint Dani was a natural progression; she will also continue to captain the Dynamos as she makes the transition from player to manager.
From the onset we were blown away by Dani’s attitude and warmth as well as her sheer skill on the pitch, and in her first season as captain she won player of the season. Dani represents the ethos of our club. She’s an excellent player, a strong ball-playing centre-back, composed on the ball and a strong aerial player. Beyond her ability, she is a brilliant role model with a true sense of team spirit and a genuine love for the game. Her unwavering commitment to her team has seen her captaincy last seven years and counting … here’s hoping it’ll be many more.Suresh Shan, Club Chairman LFA
Dani’s attitude, humbleness and competitiveness on the field makes her the perfect captain for us. She reads the game really well, knows where to position herself, when to commit and how to make the opposition do what she wants them to do. Dani never shirks from a challenge – she will always do her best to win and be there for her team. Honestly, she is invaluable to us – that’s why we asked her to coach one of our LFA teams, which she has taken to really, really well. And all of this while still looking after two kids!Rishi Gujjalu, Manager LFA
It has been an honour to play with Dan. She’s a solid defender who is very calm and composed. It’s those qualities that allow her to not only be a great player but a captain and a coach too. She is consistent, approachable and has always strived to build positive relationships with players, which undoubtedly contributes to the team’s morale and collaboration. It is great to see her growth in pursuing an opportunity in coaching, especially at a time when female representation in football is essential.Nailah Nasbeth, Teammate LFA
Tell us about when you fell in love with football?
My love for football started when I was around nine or ten. I was always at my brother’s games every weekend, kicking the ball around with the other siblings. And at home, my brother and I were always breaking something while we had a very competitive 1v1 game in the living room! I joined the boys’ school football team at the same time as being a mascot for Crystal Palace FC. Watching the fans singing and cheering around the stadium gave me such a happy feeling. This cemented my love for the game.
Tell us about your grassroots career, any highlights?
I have many highlights, such as being selected as captain for my current team and scoring a goal in a cup final in front of family and friends. My most valuable highlight was winning the league with my team. For two consecutive seasons, we narrowly missed out on the top spot, finishing runners-up both times. The following season I had left halfway through to have my son. We went on to win the league that year! I was determined to win with my team the following season which is what we did, alongside the league cup. To have that moment with my teammates and coaches meant a lot to me.
What do you love about grassroots football?
For me, I love grassroots football for the passion that the players and teams have for the game, including the social network surrounding it. I like the encouragement it gives for players to improve their abilities within communities. This is all with a massive added benefit for mental health, a huge thing the world is battling with right now.
What does it mean to be inducted into The Grassroots Post Hall of Fame?
It means a lot to be put forward for this. I feel very fortunate to even play the game I love, let alone be recognised for it. Thank you to The Grassroots Post.