10 Bay Area College Soccer Players to Watch: Joshua Ray Smith – University of San Francisco

This will be a series of articles leading up to the 2016/17 NCAA Soccer season in which I will highlight 10 college soccer players in the Bay Area worth keeping track of. 

Joshua Ray Smith began his soccer career in Germany, playing in the Bundesliga with Karlsruher SC’s U17s and U19s. At the time, he was also a member of the United States U17 team. More recently, Smith has been a part of the Earthquakes PDL system for the past three years. He was a member of the San Jose Earthquakes U23s for their one and only year in the USL PDL in 2014, and he has been a member of the Burlingame Dragons for the past two years. The Dragons have been the San Jose Earthquakes’ U23 partner since the 2015 season, and Smith has served as their captain ever since.

Smith has been named All-WCC Honorable Mention in each of the three full seasons he has played with USF. He suffered a season-ending injury in his senior year, so he ended up redshirting to gain one more year of eligibility to play in the NCAA. After recovering from his injury, he earned All Western Conference Honors in 2016 with the Burlingame Dragons.

On the field, Smith a towering presence at 6’4” and 200 lbs. His mobility and strength combined with his vision make him a very good defender of set pieces and a strong one-on-one defender. Here, you can see him closing down Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris and preventing any real goal scoring opportunity.

josh smith : jordan morris

In this situation, you can see Smith using his pace to track all the way back from the attacking half to prevent a breakaway against BYU by shouldering #7 off the ball and playing it safely back to his goalkeeper.

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You can view Smith’s full highlight video from the 2015 Burlingame Dragons season here, where they were Southwest Division Champions and reached the Conference Finals of the Playoffs:

The USF program is rated as one of the best men’s soccer schools in the WCC; a poll picked them to finish second place in the WCC this year tied with the University of San Diego and behind Santa Clara University. USF kicks off on the road this Friday against the University of Nebraska Omaha, and then continues to Creighton University on Monday. Former Earthquakes academy coach Luis Alberto Trejo joined the USF coaching staff in 2016 after years of coaching the Quakes youth teams. Their first home match will be on September 4th as they host UC Davis at recently redone Negoesco Field in San Francisco.

“Josh is a physical specimen and is comfortable with the ball at his feet,” Smith’s 2016 Burlingame Dragons head coach Eric Bucchere said of him. “He’s in the best shape and playing form of his life. Most importantly he’s mastered the mental side to the game. He’s a true competitor and leader. Excited to see him compete this fall and beyond.” It is safe to say that Smith could easily end up going pro. A solid season along with a good MLS combine in 2017 could definitely solidify his chances of getting drafted to an MLS club.

Anay Patel

I have been a lifelong Quakes fan, and founded Quakes Epicenter in November of 2014. I have been credentialed to cover the Quakes since the 2015 season, and currently serves as the lead editor of the website. Outside of the Quakes, I am currently a student at the University of Southern California studying Computer Science and Business Administration.

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