The funeral of a footballer whose passion for the sport led to a career scouting new talent will be held tomorrow.
Former Bradford Grammar School pupil Ross Smith’s flair for the game led to him being invited to study in the US. His mother, Jayne, said: “He got spotted and they chased him round and he decided he wanted to go.”
The 27-year-old, of Shelf, who also went to Lightcliffe Preparatory School, played for teams including Bradford Park Avenue and Shelf United.
He also won many trophies playing for Clifton Rangers and Brighouse Junior football teams, before he signed for Huddersfield Town Academy and later Halifax Town youth academy.
Mrs Smith said her son was enjoying his dream job finding British sporting talent and helping them set up study in the US, after gaining a sports management degree at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina.
“There are no words I can say,” Mrs Smith said. “Ross would light up a room when he walked in and he loved his dream job. He had a lovely smile and was hugely popular with people from all walks of life.”
Ross, whose father, David, taught at Buttershaw Upper School for 30 years, worked in Leeds and Bradford as a banking adviser for HBOS between 2005 and 2009, before studying abroad.
He returned home in December 2012 and found his perfect job at Future Pro USA. His brother Matthew, 23, said: “He loved life and had an infectious personality. I couldn’t have asked for a better brother. We have had so many messages of love and support paying tribute to him which is amazing.”
Mrs Smith said Ross had stayed in contact with many of his American friends who had held a celebration of his life on Sunday and were sending a video of it to the family.
School friends will be pallbearers and the service will be filmed for friends in the USA. In 2013, Ross was diagnosed with kidney cancer. His treatment included having a kidney removed at Bradford Royal Infirmary and chemotherapy treatment at The Young Adult Unit at St James’ Hospital, Leeds. He died at home on January 29.
The funeral will be held at Park Wood Crematorium, Elland, tomorrow at 2.15pm. Flowers are welcome or donations in lieu to the Young Adult Unit at St James’s Hospital, Leeds.