Smith ready for Finland return
His Major League Soccer dream over for the time being, Jonté Smith returns to Finland next month to continue his career with Kemi Kings.
The Bermuda striker is taking the road less travelled in his career and, while he would love to play in the United States one day, or return to English football, Smith has embraced the nomadic path his life has taken.
Smith joined the Finnish club last season and his goals helped them win promotion to the second tier of Finnish football. It is a long way from Crawley Town, where he began the 2013-14 season.
“Football can take me anywhere in the world and I’m grateful for that,” he said. “There are a lot different ways to have a fulfilling and successful career. I’m open to playing in different countries and to continue developing.”
There was a hope that the road might lead, via the Caribbean Combine in Puerto Rico, to the 2015 adidas MLS Player Combine in Florida this week and the MLS SuperDraft that follows it today.
Ultimately, that was not to be, but, far from being disillusioned by missing out on the cut, Smith said that he was glad to have taken part in the process. Of the 19 players invited to the event in Puerto Rico, only one, Marc Fenelus, who was born in Haiti and represented Turks and Caicos in the 2014 Caribbean Cup, was invited to the MLS Combine in Florida this week.
“I thought I performed very well in Puerto Rico,” Smith said. “I scored and got assists in the practice matches, although I feel my level of fitness wasn’t as high as it could be because of being in my off-season.”
Smith said that he certainly had not been deterred from trying to earn a deal with an MLS club in the future and acknowledged that its growing reputation was making it more attractive to players across the world. It is a fact borne out by the impending arrivals of Steven Gerrard, at Los Angeles Galaxy, and Frank Lampard, at New York City FC.
“At the moment, I am contracted to Kemi Kings and I am due back at the beginning of February,” Smith said. “I’m definitely not deterred from one day possibly playing in the MLS.”
With the transfer window in Europe open for another couple of weeks, there is always the possibility that Smith will return to football in England, which he said he would love to do, even though he is enjoying life in Finland.