6 March, 2020
As part of National Careers Week 2-7 March, Ormiston North East Wolverhampton Academy (NEWA) brought a record-breaking football freestyler in to talk to students.
Dan Magness, TV presenter and football freestyler, visited the school to talk about his journey from missing out of his professional football dream to become one of the best freestyle footballers in the world.
Dan spoke to over 300 students during the day about his journey and performed his incredible freestyle routine. He then led coaching sessions with students on how to do tricks. Students learnt how to catch the ball on their necks, pull off a rocket launch move and learn more about the fine art of keepy uppies.
Learning his tricks growing up in Guildford UK, Dan refined them and put together an amazing, unrivalled football freestyle display that kept him at the top of the freestyle tree where he remains to this day. He has performed half time shows for many Premiership football clubs and has appeared in TV commercials worldwide alongside some of the world’s biggest names in world football like Lionel Messi, Gary Lineker and Rio Ferdinand.
In 2009 Dan became the first person in the world to keep a ball in the air for 24 hours without dropping it. This amazing feat was followed a few months later by a gruelling 36 mile walk across London in January 2010, keeping a football up the whole time. In June 2010 he extended his 24-hour record by 2 whole hours, raising the bar for other freestylers to strive towards. May 2012 saw Dan smashing another record by walking from Wembley Stadium (London) to Old Trafford (Manchester) keeping a ball up the whole time. This gruelling 210-mile journey took him 11 days and burned approximately 8000 calories per day!
Football skills and numerous Guinness World Records aside, Magness is a familiar face on TV screens worldwide after filming commercials, numerous documentaries and his own TV series, Football Freestyler.
During a break in the day and with the help of student adjudicators, Dan smashed the world record for heading the ball whilst skipping for a minute. He achieved 120 headers in one minute beating the record by eight.
Dan’s positive, never say die attitude was born through a childhood of being written off by his teachers when all he ever wanted was a career in football.
He said: “Perseverance with a dose of ‘I’ll prove them wrong’ was the key to my success and now, with multiple Guinness World Records and TV shows under my belt it’s great to talk to young people about how I overcame the odds to get where I am today.
“Careers in school is vitally important, it’s rare that things go according to plan so I hope the students at NEWA know that through hard work and determination you can turn any situation around. It’s about working hard and chasing your dreams down, I’m proof of that.”
Matt Weston, Director of PE and Enrichment at NEWA, said: “Being able to show students first-hand what they can achieve is key and bringing talented sportspeople in like Dan changes the conversation dramatically. Dan is able to balance his amazing skills with brilliant advice, loaded with credibility and meaning.
“Dan made a huge impact during his visit, his skills are unbelievable, and the students were really engaged and captivated. Dan also gave students an insight into a career in sport and lots of the students have been practising their freestyle skills at break time.”