Soccer star leads quietly

De Anza soccer captain leads with a humble heart and extraordinary effort.


Anthony Montes, Sport's Editor

He speaks softly, but carries a big stick on the pitch.

Milpitas native, Daniel Galvan, 20, a journalism major, returned as a team co-captain and starting midfielder for the De Anza Dons after the 2014 season when the team reached the semifinals of the CCCAA Soccer Championship.

“Last year, he was a pretty impactful player for us and with him returning we knew that he would be our captain this year,” said head coach “Rusty” Johnson. “He was a big part of why we went to the state semifinals last year.”

At the age of 4, Galvan’s love for soccer developed playing with his cousins in the backyard, and watching the Guadalajara Chivas, a popular Mexican soccer club, on TV.

At 9, he joined his first organized team and has played including traveling teams, high school and now, college, for 11 years, with the college level being the most laborious transition.

“My first college game last year, I remember coming home and just thinking I’ve never been on the ground this much,” Galvan said.

Galvan credited his mother for his consistent involvement in soccer. Despite his father’s disabling illness, which required a kidney and pancreas transplant, his mother supported the family as the lone provider and encouraged him to continue playing.

“She’s had some tough luck with injuries,” Galvan said. “She’s always trying to make it better for us and I never take that for granted.”

Before the season started, Galvan quit his job at the In-N- Out Burger to focus on soccer, a difficult decision for him.

“When I was working I would help out with bills and now I kind of regret that a little bit,” Galvan said. “I still want to get a weekend job so I can help out.”

Galvan loves soccer, but soccer comes second to his education. He stressed the importance of excellence in the classroom. His ultimate goal: sports writing.

“Writing is free flowing, it comes naturally,” Galvan said. “It gets going by itself.”

Off the pitch, you can find him with teammates having lunch on campus, joking and laughing and building chemistry with every player, specifically with the new comers who have yet to find their place.

As a captain, he takes a lead-by- example approach and revels in the added responsibility. He said, if the team plays poorly, the blame falls on him.

“I always try to be that guy who’s going to set the tone the whole 90 minutes whether I’m on the field or not,” Galvan said. “I’m always going to put the work in.”