Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Derek Smethurst 1975 - 1978, 1985; 1976 (id) - 1978 (id)

Derek John Smethurst was born October 24th, 1947 in Durban, South Africa. He started his career with amateur clubs Glenwood, Berea Park and Addington, before signing as a professional with Durban City, had a reputation as a sharp finisher, scoring 20 goals with City, which caught the eye of Chelsea Football Club. Joined Chelsea in December 1968, and served two years' residential qualification as a permit player along with another Durban City player, Richard Gomes. Made an appearance in a pre-season friendly for the Chelsea first-team, in a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on July 28th, 1969. Derek was leading scorer in the Chelsea Reserve side of 1969-70 with 11 goals in 28 appearances (after 9 goals in 14 games the previous season), but missed part of the '69-70 season through injury. These figures earned him a place on the end-of-season tour of Portugal, Brazil and Barbados, where he made 3 substitute appearances and scoring 1 goal.
Made his full debut for Chelsea at Burnley in a 0-0 draw, on September 1st, 1970, and appeared to have established himself as a valued member of manager Dave Sexton's squad, signing a professional contract in January 1971. Everyone at Chelsea thought he had the ability to be a bright prospect and had a great future with The Blues.
Derek made 17 appearances and scored 5 goals during the 1970-71 season, the most important one being in the European Cup Winners' Cup Semi-Final against Manchester City, in a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge on April 14th, 1971. When he slid the ball neatly past goalkeeper Joe Corrigan, from a pass from stand-in centre-forward David Webb. Onto the Final in Athens, Greece against the mighty Real Madrid. Derek would make a substitute appearance in the replay, after both teams had drawn 1-1. The replay, saw Chelsea win 2-1, as Derek collected his winners medal, he must have felt that he could look forward to the new season with enthusiam, and be a main contender for a place in the first-team.
It was therefore something of a surprise when, having played in the first two games of the 1971-72 season in place of Keith Weller, Derek was transfered to Millwall for a fee of £35,000 in the September, where he would remain for four years, making 71 appearances and scoring 9 goals, before trying his luck in America.
Derek joined the Rowdies in 1975, and scored the first Rowdies outdoor goal in history against the Rochester Lancers at Tampa Stadium, on April 26th. Led the team in minutes played (223:41), shots (159), goals (19) and points (42). Was twice a member of the Weekly NASL All-Star Team, and was voted Exchange Bank player of the Week once. Was a member of the Soccer Bowl '75 winning team.
In 1976, was the fourth leading scorer for the Rowdies indoors, his three goal hat-trick in the Final gave the Rowdies a win over the Lancers. Despite being hampered by injury. During the outdoor season, he would score 21 goals, 5 assists in 26 games.
Derek also played in the NFL pre-season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a placekicker and wore the jersey #3 in 1977. He would continue in the same vein with the Rowdies in 1977, 19 goals, 4 assists in 22 games.
After only 4 appearances in 1978, he was traded to the San Diego Sockers and used in a defensive midfield spot instead of up front, scored 2 goals, 3 assists in 21 games.
1979, saw "The Stork" move to the Seattle Sounders, where he delivered goals, he finished second in team scoring with 13 goals and 2 assists in 22 games. Missed most of the season due to injuries.
1980, proved to be Derek's last season in the NASL, as he made 8 appearances, 5 of those as a substitute, and scored 1 goal.
Derek came from a sporting family, his father Norman was a soccer Springbok in the 1930s and brother Peter played for Johannesburg Ramblers and Blackpool.
In 1985, Derek appeared in the Rowdies exhibition game against the US World Cup team at Tampa Stadium on July 4th.
Now an accomplished author and sports consultant, Derek was the first South African to win a European championship. He scored 75 goals in just over 100 games in the NASL.
Today Derek lives in Valrico, Florida, and runs a professional training services business - Soccer for Winning . More information can be found at: http://www.valricosoccer.com/ (under Training Staff). He is always involved with the Rowdies Reunions.
Also, check out his new website at:
http://www.soccerforwinning.com/ Many thanks to Derek for his help with both the pictures and bio.

1 comment:

GS-1 said...

Derek in action with Sounders, 1979: