By: Geiler Damian, Reporter
OMAHA, Neb. – From training with the first team of a professional club in Slovakia to playing Division 1 soccer in the United States. That’s the story of center-back Dominik Danis.
Born in Banovce nad Bebravou, Slovakia, Danis completed a part of his soccer formation at AS Trencin and was later also at FK Teplice until he was signed in 2018 by FK Pohronie. This was a young team, barely formed in 2011 but was able to obtain a promotion to Slovakia’s first division when Danis joined them.
Danis was in the first division, a dream come true for any footballer but he was not having enough playing time and needed to make a decision.
“In Slovakia, you cannot do both things, you know, you cannot go to college and stay at a high level,” Danis said.
The Slovakian explained that this situation has great risks. He said that making it to be a professional soccer player does not guarantee success and even if you are successful, a serious injury could end your career and without a degree, your options are severely limited.
Danis heard from a few friends that the United States was a place where you could study for a degree and play at a high level. In 2019, he began his application process.
Danis studied and passed the required English exams, he made his highlight, and sent emails, lots of emails.
“I think it was over one-thousand emails that I sent to colleges,” Danis said.
“If I am not mistaken, there are around 216 D-1 schools; I emailed head coaches, assistant coaches, sometimes the second assistant coach, so that’s around 500 and I did the same for D-2 and NAIA,” Danis said.
After sending all those emails, Danis did receive some responses but nothing materialized. His hopes were low and he began to have second thoughts.
Sometime in October of 2020, Danis had his first real offer from a D-2 school. It wasn’t the best offer but it made him feel confident once again. He decided to wait, in hopes that a better offer would come and only a few weeks later he received an email from Grant Warming, who at the time was Omaha’s assistant coach.
“He said UNO was interested in signing me and I had heard that several times before so I didn’t get too excited but about an hour later I got a call from Bob Warming himself,” Danis said.
“I couldn’t believe it and I told my mom, who was still not sure about the whole thing [moving from Slovakia to the United States], that maybe I really was going to the United States,” Danis added.
Around six weeks after the call, Danis was boarding a plane to Amsterdam, Netherlands, where he would have a connecting flight in Detroit, Michigan, before arriving in Omaha.
“The day of my trip is probably the most excited I’ve been in my whole life,” Danis said.
Danis quickly adapted to a new country, a new language, and a new team. He became a starter and a team leader. During his first year, he helped UNO win the Summit Tournament and reach the second round in the NCAA Tournament.
For the last two seasons, Danis became a key player in the UNO Defense.
Unfortunately for Omaha, Dominik Danis’ Maverick cycle has ended. He has transferred and will play for Marquette University.
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