23 November 2010

The Case of Bobby Smith

By: Stephen Brandt

IF you are going to build a team, what better thing to do, than get a direct order from your newly acquired superduper star Pele. Part of the conditions put on the Cosmos from the drawn out signing of Pele, was that the team had to sign good to great players around the great man. And rightfully so, wouldn’t you want talent if you were the greatest player in the world?

Such is the case of ex-Cosmos defender Bobby Smith. While not a World beater or Carlos Albeto, he was a very good American player, being capped for the national side 18 times before 1973-1980. Bobby Smith was born in Trenton New Jersey (ah so he was born to be a Cosmos), on March 28, 1951.

He was drafted out of Rider University in the second round in 1973 to the Philadelphia Atoms, who proceeded in their first year in the league run to the NASL championship game. Unfortunately for them they weren’t able to match that success. He was recognized as one of the top defenders in the league at the time, a perfect candidate for a New York Cosmos shirt. Also in 1975 he was the first native born US player to be named to the First Team All Star team.

That all set the stage for being sold with Bob Fury to the Cosmos for 100,000 dollars. He would spend three years with the Cosmos, win two more NASL titles, and be a second team All Star, in 1976. However, by his third year, the Warner Communications Jet was flying all over the place, bringing in the top players, so Smith lost his place, only playing nine games in his last season with the Cosmos.

Bob spent three more years in the league with: San Diego Sockers, Philadelphia Fury, and the Montreal Manic. In 1981, he retired to New Jersey. He currently owns a bar, and runs his own Soccer Academy. In 2007 he was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.