In 12 minutes, Jeremy Santolin’s micro-documentary Mr. Smith reveals the dogged path traversed by a player who turned pro at age 27. Matt Smith grew up in the Portsmouth youth system but was cut at age 17.
I always argue with fellow fans about the outcome of youth development academies. During WC 2014, I visited the facilities at São Paulo FC. They have 2,000 players in their academy, but of these maybe less than 10 will be accepted for the senior or junior teams. MLS is vigorously emulating the youth systems in Germany, the Netherlands, and England, in the hopes of growing players they can sell profitably.
What happens to those kids who don’t make it? This film gives you an idea of one teenage boy who accepted the decision, grew up, went to school, moved to Australia, got a job and a family. And then, he decided to challenge that assessment, eventually becoming a Socceroo.
If you like this short, you should also check out Rise & Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story.
7 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 7