A freshman starting on varsity? No surprise. The young soccer prodigy freshman Luke Daunt may seem like an underdog on the highest level of highschool sports, but the people around him and his elite growth both on and off the field have helped him already become one of the most skilled soccer players in the city.
Daunt grew up with a packed household of seven siblings and his early start of soccer at three years old shows how the sport has been a dominant presence throughout the entire family.
“My dad did [introduced him to soccer] and also all of my older siblings all played soccer so it was a family thing,” Daunt said.
Daunt follows the legacy of his three older brothers on the soccer team: alumni Drew (‘21 ), Ryan(‘22 ) and sophomore Jack Daunt. With so many siblings having played high level soccer before him, Daunt is able to use their impact on the team as competition and motivation to keep working hard.
“My inspiration is definitely to be better than my siblings, and to get farther than they did,” Daunt said. “With them being older, they made me adapt to playing against bigger and stronger people.”
For the Maclay varsity soccer season so far, Daunt as a freshman is already top three in steals, goals, assists and points within the team. His contributions so far have helped the team continue to stay top two in the big bend of Florida.
“Playing all older players and having the expectation to stay at a high level is hard, but my team’s motivation has definitely helped,” Daunt said.
Daunt has made a big imprint on the experienced senior captains of the team by proving his abilities as both a teammate and player.
“Luke has obviously been balling this year,” senior captain and teammate James David Milford said. “As an older leader on the team I want to be able to use my experience to help him out in the same way his skills have already impacted me.”
In soccer, midfielders are given the task to help control the pace and feel of the game. As a starting midfielder, Daunt’s different attributes that he’s developed have helped him successfully fill that role.
“I think one of my best attributes is my vision, and how I can see things on the field that other guys can’t,” Daunt said. “It definitely helps me with my passing and thought processing a lot.”
Outside of school soccer, Daunt plays travel soccer for his club team ASG, which has been a prominent local club program for many years. Early in his club team tenure, one of his biggest challenges was his size compared to the opponents that he played against.
“When I was younger, I was pretty short and pretty slow, so it was hard to adapt to the tough competition back then,” Daunt said. “But now that I’ve grown, I’ve been able to level out with my opponents.”
The Maclay varsity soccer training is everyday of the school week, and the team introduces a new topic every week to focus on. Daunt’s training and practice does not stop when he does not have Maclay practice however, as his family has also given him motivation to keep progressing further in physical development.
“Definitely [trains outside of practice]. My dad and other family members have pushed me to work on fitness, and sometimes I like to just go out and shoot some balls on my own,” Daunt said.
All of the work that Daunt has put into the game of soccer won’t end after highschool is over, as he wants to continue playing soccer at the collegiate level like several of his siblings before him.
“I definitely want to play in college and keep pursuing the sport,” Daunt said. “I would want to play somewhere like Wake Forest or Air Force Academy, preferably just a Division One school.”