Easter Bank Holiday Monday saw Dartford host Dover Athletic at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park. Academy Graduate, Marvin Herschel, featured in our matchday programme that day. For those who missed that feature, here is the full article:

This season has seen manager Alan Dowson take advantage of Dartford’s Academy, as he’s instilled a healthy combination of experience and youth into his side.

With many young faces making appearances periodically throughout the campaign, particularly in cup competitions, a couple have settled well into league fixtures as well. And one of those is twenty-year-old Marvin Herschel.

Marvin is a lively player with bags of potential. He’s an Attacking Midfielder/Winger who loves to get forward and has an eye for goals. The key this season has been trying to unlock that potential, while keeping the youngster focused on the tasks in hand whilst out on the pitch.

Like a few of his young peers, Marvin prefers to do his talking on the grass and is fully focused on the sport, both off and on the pitch… “I’ve been in the Dartford Academy for three years and signed for the First Team at the beginning of this season. I don’t attend any college, nor do I work, my full focus is football.”

At the time of writing, Marvin has proved to be an important cog in the Dartford machine, having made ten appearances so far this term. Eight of those appearances saw him in Alan Dowson’s starting eleven, and he’s already found the back of the net three times (twice in the league).

With impressive statistics to his name at such an early stage of his career, how has Marvin found the experience? “It’s been great, but a little difficult. This is my first year playing Non-League football and the competition for places is tough. I’ve gone out on loan (to Margate and Whitehawk) to gain minutes and experience while the lads challenge for promotion.”

His honesty is pleasing to hear, especially considering he hit the ground running during the early stages of the season. Many in his shoes might think differently, but Marvin speaks with a level of humility and maturity…

“I try to stay positive and just concentrate on my football. I understand why I’m out on loan and my first ambition is to get back into the squad. I want to prove to myself that I’ve worked hard enough to deserve a place in the Dartford side. I want to be able to use my abilities to help the Darts both now and in the future, as well as continue to develop as a player.”

But, what about outside of the beautiful game? Does Marvin have any interests or hobbies besides the sport? “To be honest, no. I’m completely focused on my personal game and the sport in general. My days usually see me going to the gym regularly and looking after my body with regards to diet and fitness.”

Marvin doesn’t have a fitness coach to help him with his fitness and diet requirements, but he’s extremely disciplined, and has Assistant Head Coach Christian Jolley to guide him… Christian provides me with specific workouts to do and targets to achieve. Plus my Dad helps out as well.”

Seeing as we’ve reached the subject during our discussion naturally, is Dad an inspiration for Marvin? “Yes, both my parents are. I’ve known from a very young age (10-11) that a career in football is possible, and my parents have always been there for me. I’m extremely grateful that they’ve invested in me since I was very young. They’ve invested so much time and money into me and my career, helping me to realise my dreams whilst keeping me grounded and encouraging a healthy attitude.”

Unlike many footballers, Marvin doesn’t have any superstitious tendencies, but does admit to admiring France International footballer Kylian Mbappe. It would certainly be amazing if he could reach the heights of the PSG forward. For the time being though, he wears the colours of Dartford FC. And, upon reaching the end of our discussion, I ask him if he has any words for the Dartford faithful. This is Marvin’s response…

“Yes I do. I would like to thank every one of you for the wonderful reception I received during my first game for the club, especially when I scored my first goal. That celebration with you all was a wonderful experience which I’ll never forget. Thank you, and thanks for your continued support.”

By Chris Palmer