Get out what you put in, that's the motto of Stumptown AC goalkeeper Davis Smith.
We continue to add to our roster of professional goalkeeper interviews! Our latest interview features former East Tennessee State University, and current Stumptown AC, standout Davis Smith. He shares his insight on everything from college adjustment to goalkeeper glove care. Take some time to enjoy this one today!
1. How did you get started in goalkeeping? What drew you to the position?
To be honest I started out playing soccer in the goal. From day one it was a classic case of "throw the big kid in the goal," and I haven't hopped out since. 2. What was your journey like through the college ranks? Did you find the adjustment to a new level tough?
I started out playing college soccer at the Division 1 level at ETSU (East Tennessee State University). There was a huge jump in level from what I was used to. I played club soccer at a good level but it's always tough when you go from playing kids like you to playing men. It was tough work adjusting to the level but I found that the harder I worked and the more I put into working on my weaknesses, the easier it got. When I first got to college my feet and hands weren't even close to being good enough. I would go out with the other goalkeepers and do extra sessions almost every single day. By the end of the first two months or so, I felt much better and much more comfortable. Every jump in level has some degree of difficulty to it, but I truly believe that you get out of it what you put into it.
3. What made you want to play professionally? Has it always been a dream? When did you know it could become a reality?
I knew immediately that I wanted to play professionally. I remember being young and making a huge save to put us into the final and I distinctly remember thinking "Yep this is it. I want THIS to be my job.". My senior season in college, I knew I could be a professional. I felt comfortable under pressure, I was playing well, and I was really enjoying every aspect of soccer. The hard workouts, the hard sessions, close games, early mornings; I loved all of it. I really loved the "grind" as some would call it. I tore my ACL and my season was over in a flash. For a split second, I had the thought of "is this it for me?". But truthfully that was only because so many people were asking me if I was going to 'hang the gloves up'. The day after my surgery I was more confident and focused than ever and I knew I would do whatever it took to make it a reality.
4. You work with youth goalkeepers on a regular basis. What are some common mistakes you see young goalkeepers make? What are some areas young goalkeepers can work on to help them stand out from the rest?
I believe the most common mistake I see goalkeepers make, some in training, but mainly in games, is letting mistakes get to their head. As a goalkeeper, especially at a high level you absolutely HAVE to have a short term memory. Mistakes happen at every single level, you have to realize that it will happen, and when it does you have to be able to move on. During a session the most important rep is the one that you're currently on. If you pull off a worldie, great. Use it to hype you up and drive you, but if you make a mistake you have to be able to learn from it and then forget about it. You absolutely cannot let it affect the rest of the reps/session. 5. What are your thoughts on social media goalkeeping? Plenty of debate on whether a lot of content that is being put out there is beneficial for goalkeepers or not. Weigh in for us.
I think there are pros and cons to these social media goalkeeping videos we all see. Unfortunately, the flashy stuff is what gets the most exposure. Sometimes you'll see someone doing an absolutely absurd drill where they're jumping over benches or trash cans and anyone who truly has even somewhat of a decent understanding of goalkeeping will look at it and think "well that's total rubbish.". Then you'll see it has like 800 million likes ha-ha. One positive thing about these videos is that with that much exposure, it's bound to inspire at least a few kids to be goalkeepers. With all of that being said, there are now more than ever some VERY good, very informative videos out there and so I tend to gravitate towards those. I'll even send them to goalkeepers and coaches that I know at all different levels because it's always good to hear other's opinions on things. I think as coaches we need to do better about promoting and sharing good content versus the flashy stuff.