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Jonté Smith undecided on football future

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Jonté Smith has thrived as a cricketer with St George’s this year while decisions on his football future are undetermined (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

While most of Bermuda’s professional footballers are in full swing, training and/or playing with overseas clubs, conspicuous by his absence abroad and continuance as a “small-ball” performer for St George’s in the Athene T20 Premier Division is Jonté Smith.

The Bermuda forward remains unsigned, after making 17 appearances last season for semi-professional outfit Ballymena United, who compete in the Northern Ireland Football League Premiership.

Jonté Smith, right, on international duty with Bermuda (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Speaking after Sunday’s top-of-the-table T20 clash against Bailey’s Bay, where the burgeoning all-rounder played a key role in St George’s comprehensive 68-run victory, Smith confirmed he had not retired from professional football, but was taking his time in making decisions regarding his future.

“I really don’t want to comment much on football right now, said the soft-spoken 28-year-old, who scored 37 not out and took two top-order wickets. “At the moment, I’m focused on playing cricket and finishing the season with St George’s, so I really don’t want to comment much on what’s happening with football.”

Nevertheless, Smith, did reveal that he has received offers from teams, including Ballymena, although no firm decision has been made on where he may end up.

“I’ve received a few offers, but I haven’t come to any sort of decision on a club,” said Smith, a product of the North Village youth programme before moving to England to launch a professional career. His many clubs, some on loan, included Sutton United, Crawley Town, Kemi in Finland, Flekkeroy in Norway, Gloucester City, Lewes, Welling United, Oxford United, Cheltenham Town, Woking and Ballymena.

Last season saw Smith as the toast of County Antrim after he scored a dramatic winning goal in the last minute of extra time to propel Ballymena into the quarter-finals of the BetMcLean League Cup and additionally aiding them through to the semis, where the club lost 3-0 to Cliftonville.

Smith, who has made 15 appearances for Bermuda, scoring two goals, laughed off any talk of retirement and was noncommittal as to whether he had intentions of playing locally during the interim.

“Like I said, I haven’t made any decisions on football at this time,” he said. “I’m definitely not retiring or thinking about retiring; just taking a bit of time to decide things.”

At 6ft 2in with good pace and a professional attitude, Smith has always appeared as a prime candidate for the central striker position for Bermuda, but has been used sporadically used by national coach Kyle Lightbourne.

Similarly, Smith has not been able to attract significant attention outside of England’s non-League clubs.

As a cricketer this season, he made his Cup Match debut at Somerset Cricket Club, where he scored 12 runs as a middle-order batter and took three wickets in the first innings, but was out without scoring in the second, as St George’s suffered a stunning, ten-wicket defeat.

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Published September 09, 2022 at 7:43 am (Updated September 10, 2022 at 8:12 am)

Jonté Smith undecided on football future

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