Smith making a name for Bermuda
Major League Soccer scouts generally do not make Bermuda a prized recruiting area.
The island cultures its fair share of players, most notably Shaun Goater (Reading FC in the English Championship) and former Crew draftee John Barry Nusum, but no Bermudan had established his credentials in the U.S. top flight.
Enter Khano Smith.
The gangly New England Revolution striker earned the first point of his fledgling MLS career with a pinpoint cross for Taylor Twellman's late equalizer on May 21 against the MetroStars.
In recent matches, Smith has been deployed out wide on the left wing. With the front two of Twellman and Pat Noonan in torrid scoring form, Revolution head coach Steve Nicol has placed Smith on the wing to cover depth issues with the injuries to Cassio and Joe Franchino.
"For the national team, I've played out there," said Smith. "I'll do whatever I can to help the team. I take pride in helping the team win. It gives me confidence. That was definitely my best cross."
Smith's fairytale story from Bermudan international and teacher to MLS player starts with the Revolution's trip to his homeland during preseason. Prior to the Revolution's arrival, Smith was not even sure he could take the field against Steve Nicol's side, let alone win a place on the roster.
"I never really imagined it," said Smith. "I wasn't sure I could even play. I was taking a [teaching] course from 5-9 every night. I had to take off early, and I wasn't sure they'd let me."
Smith was taking a course from a Boston-area college in order to gain his teaching certification to prepare himself for a career as a teacher.
"It was Wheelock College [from the Boston area]," said Smith. "Professors came down from here. I wasn't certified, so I was taking the course in order to teach."
Little did Smith know that his luck was about to change.
Smith scored in his first two matches under the eyes of Steve Nicol. The first, the opening goal in a 3-2 victory against the Bermuda national team, came for his country while the Revolution trained in the country. The second opened his account for the Revolution, as Smith scored the second goal for the Revs' in a 2-2 draw in Ecuador.
The statistical anomaly is not lost on certain members of the Revolution front office.
"It may be a first," said Smith. "[Revolution general manager] Craig [Tornberg] always talks about it."
The goals led to a contract offer, with Smith joining the side in May after protracted work permit issues. Issues he would not have had if Smith had not found his way out of the classroom and on to the pitch.
"It's just good luck," said Smith.
Kyle McCarthy is a contirbutor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.