J'can Smith drafted by Revolution in MLS

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer Senior Reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

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FORMER Jamaica youth player Dwayne Smith was drafted by the New England Revolution from Bethel University in United States Major League Soccer (MLS) Supplemental Draft last week Tuesday.

Dwayne, 23, formerly of Meadowbrook and Calabar High, was taken by the New England Revolution as the third overall selection in the first round.

The talented player who was not selected on Super Draft night when fellow Jamaican Darren Mattocks went at No 2, was elated but not surprised.

"Extremely elated because though I wasn't apart of Division I, it shows that I've been putting in the hard work and it hasn't gone unnoticed," Smith told the Observer yesterday after training with his new teammates.

"A dream is a distant fantasy; this is my reality, ball is what I'm about since age nine. The fruition of recognition by a professional team is just the beginning," said Smith.

The New England Revolution selected four players in the Supplemental Draft, which consisted of four rounds of 19 selections each. The "Revs" picked third in each round, selecting four players.

Smith, a versatile player who even played at wing-back while in Jamaica's youth teams, banged in 46 goals in 77 games with 39 assists during his four-year career at Bethel where he played both as a forward and a midfielder.

He helped the Wildcats reach the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate) Athletics Division I play-offs in all four years.

He also earned a 2011 third-team All-America honours after receiving Scholar All-America and honorable mention All-America honours in 2010.

Revs coach Michael Burn said he went into the draft looking for forwards, attacking players and wide midfield players.

But what exactly is The New England Revolution getting in Smith?

"I'm a dynamic player with the ability to score and create scoring opportunities and just be a menace to opposing back lines.

"I'm willing to play anywhere for my team as I do have that capacity. Most of my college stats came from predominantly midfield. I'd say my preferred position would be on the flanks or attacking midfield because its customary to me, but I have no problem striking," revealed Smith.

Smith, who was a part of the late David Hunt-coached Meadhaven's successful youth teams, graduated with a double major in Business Management and Computer Information Systems and was the top Business student

"Academics have always been something my family has been blessed with. I have been putting in the hard work in the class and on the field. I'm currently pursuing my Master's and am projected to graduate this May," he noted.

Smith, who has been part of Jamaica's national set-up at every youth level, said it is just a matter of time before he makes the transition to the senior level.

"I do feel I'm more than equipped to be a part of the senior programme. I wasn't in the spotlight locally due to my academic endeavors so I wasn't able to partake in the local Premier League with Meadhaven United after being and integral part of making our league debut a reality.

"The spotlight will come and go, but as long as your hard work is consistent, it will find you again, so I'm ready should my name be called for the national programme," said Smith.

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