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Don Smart Aiming for Second NPSL National Championship

Miami FC 2’s Don Smart will be a key piece to the puzzle if the South Florida squad wishes to lift the NPSL National Championship trophy on Saturday against FC Motown. Luckily for MFC 2, Smart has lifted it before.

Smart was also extremely influential to RVA FC winning the NPSL National Championship in 2013. Now that he has a chance to win again, he’s ready to do everything he can to make that dream a reality.

“It’s a great feeling, I played in it a couple years ago, and now to be back is a great feeling.”

Smart has had a standout season with Miami FC 2, leading the team with seven assists. Smart’s team-best in assists helped lead the squad to record 30 goals on the season, which led their conference. Additionally, the midfielder has been a big part of the squad holding opponents to just five goals over the entire regular season.

“We have a few people on the team who have won a couple titles,” Smart said. “So we just have to do the same thing we have been doing since day one, go in and get the job done.”

The NPSL National Championship features a great deal of talent on both sides, with both squads including multiple former professionals. Playing against this level of competition is something Smart is used to, as the midfielder spent four seasons with Indy Eleven following his time with RVA FC. In his time with Indy Eleven, Smart appeared in 95 games and started 56 of them, scoring 10 goals and 12 assists.

As for the upcoming NPSL National Championship, Smart is ready to show what he can do in what he thinks will be a highly contested bout.

“It should be a good game,” Smart said. “Should be a competitive, back and forth game that’s exciting for the supporters to watch.”

Those supporters may pose a challenge to Smart and Miami FC 2, as FC Motown has the home advantage for the match. Not only will they be playing at home, FC Motown features former MLS players Dilly Duka and Julius James.. FC Motown has notched a whopping 40 goals on the season, while only giving up five.

With the two high powered offenses and stout defenses going up against one another, it may come down to the creativity of players like Smart. Smart tries to make sure he’s always trying to be creative and move the ball along to the forwards. A player like the former Indy Eleven mainstay could prove crucial in the championship match.

“I have to do what I do best, get assists,” Smart said. “It’s a team game so I have to make sure I do whatever I can to help.”

While the team has certainly had success, it was not without its difficulty and challenges.

“It means so much (to get to the championship) to all of the guys,” Smart said. “It’s been up and down, but most of the guys stuck together and said ‘hey we just have to get the job done because we are here for a reason.’”

With the game meaning so much to the squad, one could understand if an important player like Smart would feel some nerves, but that’s not the case with the Kingston, Jamaica native.

“There are no nerves, no nerves,” Smart said. “You can’t think too much about the game, you just have to enjoy the game, free of mind and go in.”

Smart is also taking his own advice, and is going into the match fully focused on the present.

“It’s been a roller coaster all year, but right now, it’s just about getting the championship.”

 

Contributor: Daniel Cermak/NPSL.com
Photo Credit: Orovio Photography

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