Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Fairy Tale in Wellington

American footballer Alex Smith is having a great run in the A-League:
As Australia’s A-League season enters the final stretch, the Wellington Phoenix’s American midfielder Alex Smith is enjoying a remarkable comeback while aiming to lead the New Zealand-based club to its first championship.
Smith is living a  bit of a fairy-tale story:

In 2005, after completing a strong sophomore season at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Smith went to England to train with professional clubs. He intended to return to college for his junior year but, to his surprise, the N.C.A.A. ruled that he had lost his eligibility during his trip to England.

Smith ended up signing with Dallas of Major League Soccer in 2005, but did not stay with the club. As a young man, Smith had lost his focus on soccer and simply quit the game. He then packed his bags and moved to Australia for no other reason than it was a place he enjoyed once on a vacation. At the time, soccer was the last thing on his mind.

It was not long, however, that soccer would work its way back into Smith’s life.

“I got done with college and didn’t really want to get into the corporate America world,” Smith said. “I was just over the whole business of soccer. I just packed my bags and took off. I didn’t know anybody. I had a bit of money saved up and didn’t plan it. I started playing again by juggling around a little with a ball just to get in shape. I ended up meeting a few people, and that’s what led to everything.”

In 2010 Smith was back to playing competitive soccer when he joined for Fraser Park in the New South Wales Super League, a minor league in Australia. Shortly after, Smith was on the move to Sydney Olympic, another N.S.W. Super League team where he became one of the team’s best players in early 2011.
Following Yanks abroad is no longer an easy task, but this website (where the author of the piece excerpted above writes) helps.


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