Words: Michael Flynn | Image: Patrick Leigh Perspectives
PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland 2017 Golden Boot winner Sam Smith will continue to entertain Gold Coast City FC fans after committing to the club for the next two seasons.
Smith is the first signing for the upcoming campaign for coach Grae Piddick, with the duo both officially signing on for the club over the weekend.
27-year-old Englishman Smith proved himself as the stand-out acquisition of 2017, topping the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland scoring charts with a stunning 22 goals in his debut season.
His new two-year deal will see Smith also take on a coaching role with the club, where he will guide City’s Under 16’s team.
Smith boasts a UEFA ‘B’ Coaching Licence and last season coached at Football Gold Coast affiliated community club Bilambil Terranora Football Club.
The signing comes after City saw off a range of approaches from high profile interstate clubs, who have gained a reputation for pilfering the best talent from Queensland-based clubs in recent seasons.
Smith said he was delighted to have pledged his future to City and is eagerly awaiting next season.
“For me it was a massive decision to sign on for two more years, but I have really enjoyed it this year,” Smith said.
“I’ve obviously done well personally. It was a shame we didn’t win the league but I think it was a successful season, but from my point of view we have unfinished business.”
Smith said he is also eager to leave his mark on City’s next generation of talent in his new role as Under 16’s coach.
“I felt that taking on the Under 16’s in the NPL is a step forward in my coaching career. I have done a lot of coaching in and around the Gold Coast and it is something I want to pursue.”
“It will be a big commitment but I am really looking forward to getting my teeth into it and improving as a coach as well as a player.”
Asked of the value of Smith’s return, coach Piddick said it provides City stability in the attacking third that has been lacking in previous campaigns.
“Sam showed his quality last year. He came into the team just before the season started and got going straight away, so with a pre-season with a team he will only be better.”
“We’ve had some good goal scorers over the past couple of years and every year they have been snapped up by clubs from down south for big money.”
“It is exciting for me to have someone who is the leading goal scorer be here for the following year – that’s something we have never had before.”
“That gives us a real opportunity to build and I expect him to score even more goals next year,” Piddick concluded.
Piddick and the club are continuing negotiations with a range of prospective players for the 2018 season and further announcements will be revealed in coming weeks.
Smith’s fellow junior coaches for the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland 2018 season will also be announced over the remainder of this week.