By Samantha Thompson
Some people are lucky if they ever get to live out their dreams. Adam Smarte gets to do it at the ripe young age of 21.
Last week, Smarte, who graduated from UCSC in the fall after his final season of collegiate soccer, got a phone call from the San Jose Earthquakes telling him that he was the team’s first pick in Major League Soccer’s supplemental draft.
“I was just really excited,” Smarte said. “And I haven’t stopped smiling since.”
Teammates from the UCSC men’s soccer team were there to celebrate the news with Smarte.
“I think I might have been more excited than he was actually,” Senior and captain Jeremy Abrams said. “I kept updating the website to see when the picks for the supplemental draft were out.”
The supplemental draft is a free-agent draft of players that are not taken in the MLS SuperDraft, which indicates Smarte made quite an impression at team tryouts, which took place from Dec.18-21.
“I heard that he had impressed at the combine, so I figured he had a really good shot of getting a roster spot or getting invited to their training camp,” UCSC men’s soccer coach Dan Chamberlain said. “But to be quite honest, I was pretty taken back by the No.1 overall pick in the supplemental draft. It still kind of blows my mind that he got picked over some Division I All Americans and a lot of very good soccer players in DI soccer.”
No. 1 pick or not, Smarte is just happy to have been chosen.
“I’m not really worried about when I was picked because I still have to go out and show my stuff and prove myself out there,” Smarte said. “So being No.1, being No. 4, whatever, I just have to go out there and impress the coaches now and get my spot, because nothing’s guaranteed.”
Smarte still has to earn a spot on the Quakes’ roster, which will be determined after the team’s training camp, beginning on Feb.1. But there is little doubt that Smarte will have any trouble in training camp.
“He’s an absolute physical specimen,” Chamberlain said. “I would be surprised if there’s a guy even in the MLS that’s going to be able to run past him. He can pretty much do it all.”
“He’s a dangerous and dynamic player,” Abrams said. “And when you have speed like that, I mean, you can’t teach speed, so he’s hard to miss on the field.”
If Smarte makes it onto the Quakes’ roster, he will become the fourth soccer player in four years from UCSC to play professionally.
“We’re an underrated program, so it’s nice to get recognition for guys showing such talent from schools like ours,” Abrams said. “We have a guy who’s the No. 1 pick from Santa Cruz and people are like, wait, do they even have a soccer team?”
Now friends, family and fans are just waiting to see what Smarte can do in the big leagues.
“I think he has the capability of doing anything he wants,” Chamberlain said. “If [how he is] now is any indicator of what he’s going to be in the future, then I think there’s great things in store for him.”
And Smarte can be sure that UCSC teammates will be there to support him in this big transition.
“There’s no doubt that if he’s suiting up,” Abrams said. “I’ll be there every game.”
Even though there is still a long way to go and a lot of hard work to do before Smarte can even begin to think about suiting up for the Quakes, the smile on his face remains just knowing that he has the chance to live out his dream of playing professional soccer.
“I mean, [this] is your dream from when you [first] start playing soccer,” Smarte said. “I guess I never really thought it would happen, but I’m just happy it did.”