When a front office and program try to build a roster, the one thing that’s highlighted unanimously is a team’s defense. Every successful team first and foremost has a strong and sturdy defense. So long as it’s hard to score against a team, that team’s offense doesn’t have to take as many risks when trying to produce goals, buckets, touchdowns etc. The Dons are no stranger to finding quality defenders. That’s what USF has in senior Joshua Smith.
At six feet and four inches, Smith is a physically imposing figure that has possesses a combination of power and speed. San Francisco’s recruiters took note of that and so did many other schools. Many east coast schools were looking into recruiting the U.S born but German raised product but he was pulled to USF and San Francisco. Smith said, “I value the jesuit tradition and this school has it. They have an emphasis on diversity while still having a good program and challenging curriculum.” While here Smith has chosen to double major in marketing and business administration.
For Smith, Transitioning to San Francisco definitely had its surprises but luckily there was no language barrier. He grew up able to speak and understand english thanks to his father. When first moving to San Francisco one of the first things he noticed was how diverse and open-minded the city was. It was a brand new world, a completely unique place unlike any other that he was able to fully immerse himself in. He loves the fact that people are able to express themselves freely and that every time he explores the various neighborhoods in San Francisco there’s always something new to find. He loves going to Dolores Park, Alamo Square and the beach on nice warm days. Most importantly the food, with so many different food options he’s been able to satisfy every craving and try new foods that he wouldn’t have been able to elsewhere. In his free time Smith loves exploring and learning about the body. He’s very into fitness and nutrition and enjoys learning how the body functions.
Smith says playing for USF has always had it’s ups and downs but it’s not good to get stuck on the ups. This season, the match against Stanford is another pin in that notion. When I asked about the game where he and his teammates upset Stanford he said, “The day after it doesn’t matter, it’s taking one game at a time. We gained confidence but it just means we need to work harder and be prepared for next time.” Since his freshman year he has been a near lock in the starting lineup.
This season has been a trying one for Smith since he’s coming off an injury. In 2015 Smith played two games but was kept out after a season-ending injury while playing West Virginia. During his rehab he spent time playing with two teams in the summer of 2016 to get back into form, a local SF club team and the Burlingame Dragons. Head coach Eddie Soto and assistant coach Alex Yi were some of his biggest supporters during his rehab, “They told me to be confident in my role, to focus on what I’m in control of and to perform.” After redshirting the 2015 season he was able to come back to in 2016 to use his final year of playing eligibility. In his 15 games this season he’s been able to score three goals, one of which was a golden goal winner against the University of San Diego in the 100th minute.
One this semester is over Smith will be graduating. When asked about life after USF he makes it a point to say that no matter what he’s doing, whether he’s playing professionally or working, he wants to be giving back. Giving back to his family and to his community. But he would like to play professionally, if he had the opportunity to do so, he would most definitely take it. When asked about a favorite memory all he could say was, “All the wins. Every win has stood out, winning is the best feeling. Those are the best moments.”
With one game left in the season, Smith and the Dons look towards Saturday, November 12 when they head to Loyola Marymount for their regular season finale.
Photo Credits: Dons Athletics/ Flickr