One of our favourite National Premier League NSW Men’s stars ever to grace our competition, former Blacktown City ace Danny Choi, is on the lookout for a new club, albeit battling COVID-19 restrictions, currently in Portugal, the 25-year-old is a free agent.
Those that remember Choi in the NPL NSW Men’s competition will never forget the hype he received after scoring a 70-yard belter from inside his own half in extra-time that steered Blacktown City to a huge win over Sydney United 58 during the 2016 FFA Cup round of 32 – a sight poor United keeper Tommy Manos had to endure for months soon after that thanks to the countless replays shown on Fox Sports.
“Of course, how can I forget that moment? – it was a great night not just because I scored that goal but because we came back to win the match in front of our amazing fans.
“It’s always a great feeling winning matches like these and it is one of the main reasons why you play the game, for moments like that.
“It may have been four years ago but I will never forget it.”
Born in Suwon, South Korea, Choi and his family moved to Australia in 2013 where he played for Parramatta FC before making his name heard in the football public in NSW during his time with Blacktown City – it was there the A-League realised Choi’s potential and Adelaide United signed him on loan as an injury replacement for Marcelo Carrusca.
Injuries did hammer Choi’s progress in the Australian game but an opportunity to play in Portugal’s third tier came in 2018 which he took with open arms playing for the likes UD Leiria (a team managed by the great Jose Mourinho in 2001-02) and SC Beira Mar.
Asked what he thought of his Portuguese experience so far Choi replied to Football NSW.
“I have learnt a lot since coming to Portugal, football wise.
“They demand a lot from a defensive perspective of the game and I guess that’s modern football now-a-days.
“Standard wise from my point of view the Portuguese competitions have been quite tough.
“There’s always 2 or 3 defenders on me most of the times I have the ball, so they are very well organised defensively and tactically they are very disciplined.
“Coaches here demand players to really understand what they try to implement into the game from their end, failure to do this will result in you not playing in the next game – it’s harsh sometimes but that’s how it is here in Portugal.
“Life here is good though and people here are very nice – the weather is great and everybody loves football so it’s a good environment to be in.”
COVID-19 has played havoc on the world game globally, Portugal being no different with Choi and his family adjusting to the pandemic as best as possible.
“COVID-19 has affected everyone in football and Portugal has been no different to what is happening in Australia.
“Not being able to play football is quite tough and I don’t think I have ever not played football for this long of a period when not injured so it has been tough mentally.
“We are remaining positive and are grateful to be healthy first and foremost.
“Restrictions wise in Portugal all I can tell you is that I am home most of the time and only go out once a week for my essentials but I can tell you things are getting better slowly but surely – Restaurants and cafes are opening up, schools are going to restart soon so there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
“In terms of a football restart, our championship has been cancelled since March and there hasn’t been much chat about when we will commence but my guess is around August/September.
“The Primera Liga which is our top tier is finishing off their season on the 30th of May from what I have heard.”
Choi still has time to watch and follow his former teammates at Blacktown City even though he’s found himself on the other side of the world, checking on how the NPL is fairing via the Live Streams featured on our respective Facebook and YouTube pages.
“Yes, I still keep in touch with a few of the boys form Blacktown watching matches, replays more or less of their games due to the time zone differences – but I follow the results on a weekly basis from your social channels and website.”
Asked what was next for Choi now that he is currently a free agent, the star attacker replied.
“To be honest, whatever God has planned for me in my life I am ready for it.
“There’s not much you can do in these current tough times but I am training on my own, remaining positive and eagerly anticipating my next journey wherever that may be.”
One thing’s for sure, Danny Choi’s name will forever be known in the NSW football circles and you just never know, we may see him dazzling defenders in the NPL one day but until then we will continue to monitor his progress overseas.