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MLS Cup desire fuels Smith’s ambition

New perspective: Smith, right, has learnt plenty already from Sermanni, left, the head coach of Orlando Pride

Khano Smith has revealed his “burning desire” to lift the MLS Cup as he continues his coaching education at Orlando Pride in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Smith suffered plenty of MLS heartache with New England Revolution, losing back-to-back finals against Houston Dynamo in 2006 and 2007, as well as missing the 2005 final because of a knee injury.

The 35-year-old is still haunted by those painful setbacks and hopes to exorcise his ghosts in the future by winning the MLS Cup as a coach.

“It’s still a burning desire that I didn’t win [the MLS Cup],” Smith told the Orlando Pride website. “Hopefully, one day, who knows?

“Maybe if I end up coaching in the MLS there will still be a burning desire for me to win one.

“But in the meantime, I’m happy where I’m at. I love being in Orlando. I love working with Tom [Sermanni], coaching the Pride. Love coaching the girls. It’s a great set-up, we never want for anything here. I’m definitely happy where I’m at.”

The former Bermuda captain was appointed as assistant coach of Orlando in December and said he has already learnt plenty from head coach Sermanni, who previously led the United States and Australia’s women’s teams.

Smith was recommended to Sermanni by Anthony Pulis, the Orlando City assistant coach, who he played alongside at then League Two side Lincoln City, and Rob Valentino, a former team-mate at Revolution and Orlando City player.

“When Tom [Sermanni] got the job, he was looking for an assistant and he asked those guys if they knew anybody and they both recommended me,” Smith said.

“A few weeks went by and I got a call from Tom and he wanted to know if I was interested. I came down for an interview, had the interview and that was that.

“As a coach you can learn and steal ideas from anyone. I’m learning [from the other coaches] all the time, just picking pieces off everyone.

“That’s what I really enjoy about this environment. There’s so many good coaches around that you can steal bits and pieces from everyone.”

Smith retired in 2011 before switching to coaching, firstly as a youth development player co-ordinator at Revolution, where he had two stints as a player, and then as an assistant at Southern Hampshire University.

During his one season at the university, Smith took the opportunity to study for a master’s degree in sports management and said his experience at the college level was an important step in his coaching development.

“I never saw myself really wanting to be in the college game but it was a good opportunity for me,” said the former Dandy Town winger. “It was a really good opportunity to see the game from a different perspective on the college end.”

Orlando were the tenth team to be added to the NWSL, the top level of women’s football in the US, and are affiliated with Orlando City in the MLS.

Pride are fourth in the table with three wins from their opening five matches of the season.