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The Team Behind the Team: Danielle Helu

10.22.2013 / Blog Posts WOW Interview Series

WOW is getting to know the Team Wives and Girlfriends in our Team behind the Team segment and letting YOU in on the details! Next up is Danielle Helu, wife of #29 running back Roy Helu, Jr. Hailing from Omaha, Danielle grew up the third child of six (Roy is also one of six!) in a large but close-knit family.

Although both Roy and Danielle attended the University of Nebraska, the two did not actually meet until Danielle had returned back from overseas after suffering an injury playing professional volleyball. Read more about how the two met, her off-season in Europe, and more!

How did you and Roy meet?
I was honored to be a scholarship student-athlete at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where I spent four years playing volleyball. After graduating from UNL I continued my volleyball career as a professional athlete overseas. My fourth season overseas, I injured my shoulder, resulting in surgery. After having a procedure done, I was sent back to the States for my rehabilitation for three months. I was pleased to work with my University trainer, and here is where Roy and I met! Roy was in his senior season of football, and we actually met in the training room while both getting treatment. He was just as innocently goofy as he is today, but at the time we first met, I thought to myself “Who is this kid?!”

We built a foundation of friendship for months, even while I returned back to Germany. In April of 2012, Roy was drafted by the Washington Redskins, but because of the lock-out he wasn’t able to come to Virginia until late July. The night before he left Nebraska, we began exclusively pursuing one another, until March when he proposed. We were engaged for eight weeks, in which seven of those weeks I was in Nebraska and he was in OTA’s, but we finally married in late May. The first time ever living in the same city was the day after our wedding when we returned here to Virginia!

Do you have any special game-day rituals?
This is an interesting question for me. As an athlete myself, yes I do have a specific routine that throughout my college and professional career I stuck to. My game-day routine always included a nap and shower before the game, with much prayer throughout. As far as a game-day routine now, with Roy’s career, I spend time journaling and praying specifics over him and his teammates, as well as the Redskins organization.

What's your favorite game-day memory?
My favorite game-day memory happened this year, when I traveled to Oakland. Being from the Bay Area, about fifty of Roy’s family and friends were in attendance. We had shirts made and tailgated before-hand. It was so memorable because those who have watched him grow and those who have supported him throughout his football career were there together in one place. It truly was a perfect moment when he scored a touchdown, not only for him and his teammates, but for us as a family all being present to see it first-hand.

oaklandgame
Danielle and Roy with family at the Redskins-Raiders game.

Describe your game-day style!
Now this may come as a surprise for those of you who do know me, but I dress mostly for comfort. Believe it or not, I don’t own a pair of heels. I appreciate the women who always look wonderful, but for me, I usually stick to my father’s motto “Two plain, one fancy.” I’ll let you decipher what that means.

Since playing collegiate and professional volleyball, what do you like to do to stay in shape?
I played volleyball for four years in college, and another five seasons professionally overseas. My last season finished this past May. When I returned home, I worked out for the fun of it trying a variety of classes at the gym, wasn’t pursuing a specific goal. Then over the summer months I took some time off. Recently I’ve been working out at Gold’s gym again. My favorite part is the classes they offer. Any goal you have in mind pertaining to your physical body, they have a class to help you achieve it. So I will do a class or two, and mix in some cardio on my own.

Tell us about your adventures this off-season!
This off-season was not a typical “off-season” for Roy and me. I was humbled to receive a contract to play professionally in Split, Croatia. One week after I left the USA, Roy had surgery on his foot. So, while he was here rehabilitating his foot, I was living and playing volleyball in Europe. Croatia is an absolutely beautiful country. Split is a port city, so I lived right alongside the Adriatic Sea. We traveled to a couple different cities, and on one of our off days, we visited Krka National Park. I would highly suggest looking up photos, or even more, visit someday! It was breathtaking! Roy was able to visit for a week during this time, which in the 18 years that I have played volleyball, he saw me play for the very first time!

helu
Roy and Danielle in Croatia!

I’ve also played for professional teams in Indonesia and Germany. Volleyball has given me the opportunity to see so much of this world. My volleyball travels have also included; China, Japan, Russia, Montenegro, Poland, France, and Cypress.

What is one thing that might surprise people about you?
One thing that might surprise people about us is that Roy and I saved our first kiss for our wedding day. We respected one another’s personal convictions to wait and trusted God would honor this decision. Yes, it was difficult at times, but we both knew the wait would be worth it, and it most beautifully was. People may think this is impossible, and with man, it may be, but with God all things are possible.

Another small fact about us, that may come as a surprise, is that Roy and I have only one car. This being said, we do spend a lot of time together when he’s not at Redskins Park.

What is the best advice you have ever received?
The best advice ever given to me poses a very deep question in my mind. I am blessed to have been raised by God honoring parents. I have had the privilege of playing for outstanding coaches. I have been taught by intelligent teachers. Throughout my life, I’ve had opportunities to have rich conversations with people literally all over the world. So to minimize the counsel and instructions I’ve been given to one piece of advice, I think it would come down to this, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” This truth reminds me that life is not about me, it is about Jesus Christ. It is about loving God and loving people; serving God and serving people. Being a wife of an NFL player can bring about many different situations; positive and negative, ups and downs, times of joy and times of sadness. But if I continually trust in the Lord, He promises to always take care of me. And He has been faithful to do so.

Roy and I enjoy where we are in life right now. One of our favorite things to do is take naps! We know football will not last forever, but we are honored to be a part of the Redskins organization. HTTR!!

BIG thank you to Danielle for sitting down with WOW!

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