Street footballer Daniel ‘D10’ Cappellaro is set to become the first Australian to play in the UEFA Futsal Cup.
The Western Australian signed for Scottish futsal powerhouse Perth Saltires on loan from Middlesbrough Futsal Club and will play a key role a part in the club’s pursuit of glory.
Cappellaro, who made a name for himself as a technical specialist with 1v1 moves and tricks is heading to Poland for the preliminary round of competition which kicks off on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old spoke to FourFourTwo about flying the Aussie flag abroad, his futsal ambitions and life as a FIFA Street star.
“It's a proud moment obviously,” Cappellaro said.
“I've always wanted to play in European Competitions and in terms of Futsal it doesn't get much bigger than the UEFA Futsal Cup.
“To be the first Australian is just an added bonus, I hope other Australian players see what I'm doing and want to achieve similar goals.”
Capellaro believes he still has a lot to learn and harbours hopes of remaining overseas for years ahead.
“When I last visited England, it came as a surprise that the most experienced players were over the ages of 36, the oldest being 40,” he said.
“This showed me that in terms of futsal, I'm quite young. I have a lot of playing left in me and obviously a lot to learn still. I like to believe that I'm not in my prime just yet.
“As I will be playing in the UEFA Futsal Cup and (with Perth Saltires) FA National League with Middlesbrough this coming season, I hope these playing experiences help me to secure many more seasons abroad.”
I've always known I was good at football skills and tricks
Born and raised in Perth, Cappellaro idolised Brazilian footballers who started out playing in the streets and credits them and one of Manchester United’s all-time greats for his development as a player.
“When I was younger I looked up to the Brazilian footballers mostly and George Best,” he said.
“Although I've only see video clips of Best, in my opinion he was one of the greatest dribblers and tricksters of all time.
“As for the Brazilians I enjoyed watching Denilson (the amazing dribbler), Rivaldo, Ronaldo (R9) and Ronaldinho. Today I follow Neymar and Ronaldo (CR7) - these are the players I currently look up to.”
Cappellaro only started playing futsal in his early teens – a decision that would eventually take him around the world.
“I began playing futsal when I was 14, just for fun and to keep playing during the summer,” he said.
“It complemented my outdoor football. I played futsal and football side by side until I was 25, at the time I had taken up a role within the Perth Glory as a development officer and I could no longer dedicate as much time to playing. To dedicate my playing time 100% to futsal seemed the natural progression.
“I've always known that I've been good at football skills, tricks and I'm strongest in 1v1 situations.
“I was more successful within the sport and I always obtained travel opportunities through futsal. It was hard to give up playing football, I love it still and miss it still, though it was this decision ultimately that led me to playing worldwide.”
Since making the switch to futsal, the attacker has played for a host of big name Australian clubs such as Cambio Cumbre – Western Australia’s most successful futsal club – and Fremantle’s Muita Calma.
In addition he has lined up for various national and state leagues as well as representing WA at the FFA Nationals, State Futsal League at the FAFL Cup and Australia at the international level.
Despite a lengthy list of achievements to his name, Cappellaro insists his single greatest accomplishment to date has been a starring role in FIFA Street, where he appears as an unlockable character alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Socceroo Tim Cahill.
“It was a massive highlight,” he said.
“You don't plan to be a video game character, it's something that happens by chance and I always say I've just been in the right place at the right time.
“I've played the FIFA series since FIFA 95' on the Super Nintendo, so to have a yourself feature in an EA Sports FIFA title was a dream come true.
“Better still, it was FIFA Street which meant you were instantly associated with skills, tricks and what some called ‘unbelievable tekkers’. It was a lucky, but great moment.”
Outside of football, Cappellaro’s passions lie in music, culture and fashion – three aspects which influenced him to start his own fashion brand for footballers: “#trickster”.
“It's a brand designed on the basis of letting others know what type of player you are without telling everyone around you.
“I remember when I was younger, I always wanted to wear the clothing and boots of the players I idolised,” Cappellaro added.
“I still take a lot of inspiration from these players. I always wanted people to know that I enjoyed dribbling, skills, tricks and the technical attributes of football just from the clothes I was wearing – hence the introduction of my own brand: “#trickster”.
However brash he may be on the field, Cappellaro is a humble, family man at heart, and credits his parents as being his biggest supporters.
“I have had the dream to play football professionally since I began playing, and my family have always supported me with this ambition,” he said.
“My biggest mentors would have to be my mum and dad because even when others didn't believe in me, they enabled me to keep the dream going.”
Follow Daniel’s European trip via his social media links: @D10Football.
*Pics by Vaerld Photographycomments