Madison Pro Soccer on Wednesday announced its first-ever player signing, free agent midfielder Don Smart.
Smart, 30, is a native of Kingston, Jamaica who has been playing professionally in the United States since 2011. He got his start playing for FC New York and later made 95 appearances over three seasons for the Indy Eleven in the North American Soccer League, including their inaugural season in 2014, scoring 10 goals and adding 12 assists. He made 17 appearances and recorded seven assists and four goals for Miami FC 2 in 2018, helping the club to the National Premiere Soccer League championship.
Madison Pro Soccer, whose official name and colors will be unveiled in the coming weeks, will be one of the charter members of United Soccer League One, beginning play at Breese Stevens Field in March 2019.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Smart said in an interview with Madison365 Thursday. “I think it will be exciting to be a part of a new team again, making some history for the city.”
Playing the past seven years in different leagues at different levels, Smart is excited to bring United Soccer League play to Madison.
“I think the USL overall is a pretty competitive league,” he said. “Game in, game out, you just don’t know what you’re going to get. Every team is different and I think (fans) should be excited because there’s great things coming to the city. It’s the first professional soccer team in the city, and w fans should be excited because we come out and give them a good show.”
“We’re excited to have Don Smart be the first player signed by Madison Pro Soccer. Don is a player who we feel will bring quite a bit of experience to our team and we expect him to be a leader both on, and off, the field,” said Head Coach and Technical Director Daryl Shore, who was one of Smart’s assistant coaches in Miami. “His ability to break down defenses and run at them with pace is a big part of his game. He has the ability to both score and assist, but it’s his overall qualities on both sides of the ball that fans will be most excited about.”
“I am really pleased to work with Don again. I’m certain he will bring the same qualities to Madison that made him a fan favorite in Indy,” said Madison Pro Soccer Managing Director Peter Wilt, who was General Manager at the Indy Eleven when Smart played there. “His speed, hustle and ability to create chances in the attack and his humility and easy going nature will be embraced by fans here.”
Smart says he knows what it’ll take to bring some hardware to Madison.
“Hard work,” he said. “We have to work together, stick together, and each make the most of the opportunities we have to make some history for Madison.”