Smith’s rise from non-League can inspire Eccleshill United players (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Matt Smith’s rise from non-League can inspire Eccleshill United players
Eccleshill’s players met Leeds striker Matt Smith recently when he visited their training facilities, gave a talk and then held a question and answer session.
Smith was bought by new Elland Road boss Brian McDermott from Oldham, one of Eagles head coach Lee Duxbury’s former clubs – but it was not the Latics old boys network that led to Duxbury inviting Smith along.
Duxbury explained: “I know Matt is a special player from our days with Latics, and the lads were delighted to meet him, but the connection is university.”
Most of Eccleshill’s players come from the Richmond International Academic and Soccer Academy (RIASA), the vast majority of whom are from the United States. They combine their football development with an internationally-recognised business degree.
“Matty was in the same boat as our players just a couple of years ago and now he is playing for a big club like Leeds in the Championship,” said former Bantams midfielder Duxbury.
“Matt played non-League well into his 20s because he was at uni and didn’t want to go full time until he had completed his studies.
“He was at Manchester and he studied in Texas for a while, so my boys can see a lot of parallels in his career and what they hope to achieve.
“He is one of the up-and-coming stars of the game. Last year for us (Oldham) he scored two goals against Liverpool when we knocked them out of the FA Cup and scored against Everton later in the competition.
“His background tells the lads that their dream can come true. They can commit to their studies and still make it to the top in the game as long as they work hard and stay focused.”