Dan Kemp is an up-and-coming attacking talent currently plying his trade at the highly regarded West Ham Academy under the guidance of Terry Westley and Liam Manning. Starting his journey at the Chelsea Academy as an U9 before moving to East London as a scholar, Kemp, now 18, now represents the West Ham U23s in Premier League 2 and has already trained with the first team. PDP Editor, Dave Wright spoke to Dan about his journey, what kind of coaches he responds to and the challenges of moving through the often-difficult professional development phase.
Dan Kemp was born in Sidcup, Kent and spent his childhood playing football, a “little bit of tennis” and playing big brother to Abby (18 months his junior) in Bexley. He cites his parents (Steve and Hillary) as a “massive influence” on his development. Having grown up attending Portsmouth games with his Dad, Kemp started out in the Chelsea Academy and has been developing his game ever since.
When asked about his footballing memories as a child, Kemp speaks fondly about playing in the park and attending matches with his Dad, Steve. He explains, “My first memories would be when I was around three years old. I used to go to Portsmouth games with my Dad, sit on his knee and watch them play in the Premier League – I absolutely loved it. Aside from that I just remember always having a football around, playing in the park, going to watch local games and playing on the side-lines.”
He continues, “My parents have had a massive influence on my football journey. They have never pressured me into football, I always just loved going to games with my Dad and they have given me so much support. They used to drive me to Cobham [Chelsea’s training ground] four times a week. It’s a 45-minute drive from my house and doing that four times a week since I was eight years old means they have been a huge support over the years.”
As a Chelsea Academy player, Kemp was exposed to “a lot of great coaches” but fondly recalls one who had a big impact. “One who stood out was my U10 coach, Michael Beale,” says Kemp. “He was someone that I loved working under as a kid. The sessions were always a lot of fun and really competitive, and I always felt he loved working with attacking and wide players like myself. He always gave us a real freedom to express ourselves and be creative but his technical detail was always very good.”
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