- Category: Sports
- Published: Wednesday, 03 May 2017 15:57
- Written by Bill Jaynes
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Bill Jaynes - The Kaselehlie Press
April 20, 2017
Pohnpei—Football (Soccer) coach Chris Smith is from Nottingham, England, the land of the character of medieval folklore, “Robin Hood”, who supposedly stole from the rich and gave to the poor. But Smith is neither an archer nor a swordsman. He doesn’t have a band of “Merry Men” but he does hope to foster a band of soccer players in Pohnpei. He is on his own, using his own money and the money of interested donors in order to continue the work of those who have gone before him to rekindle a love of soccer in Pohnpei, and to help provide a route for the sport to be followed for those who are interested in doing so.
He arrived in the wee hours of Monday morning, April 17, not having any clue what time it was or what day it was after having spent three and a half days traveling from the other side of the world. A few hours later, he was at the PICS field, face to face with 25 eager young soccer players.
“If there were a bunch of guys with this determination in England, they’d be going places,” he said. “First thing I noticed was, they are not pulling out of tackles. Yeah, the commitment can’t be questioned. I’m scared to play with those guys as someone who is managing an injury.” It was an ACL injury and several surgeries that took him out of game play. After several years of recovery and no injuries, just three weeks before he came to Pohnpei, he injured his knee again.
“But as far as these guys, they’re not scared of that. Half of them are in bare feet and half of them are in boots, but it doesn’t matter,” he said. “But it’s that commitment though. They have no boots and the pitch is ‘that’ deep in water, they still do it. They still come out.”