BRENDAN KING | STAFF REPORTER
When you think of team leaders of a Division I men’s soccer team, usually, you would think of an upperclassman being the star player.
For Butler’s squad, two freshmen have taken the spotlight .
David Goldsmith and Anthony Smith, Jr. — two newcomers who grew up more than 4,000 miles away from each other — are teaming up to be a big part of the Butler men’s soccer team’s success so far this season.
Smith is a 5’11” forward from Country Club Hills, Ill. He first received increased attention on the team after Butler’s upset of Louisville.
The Cardinals were ranked No. 7 nationally at the time, and Butler was a heavy underdog on paper.
Smith scored the only goal in the game. Coach Paul Snape had his eye on Smith for a while. He knew what he saw out of the Marian Catholic High School star during the recruiting process.
“What he brings is electrifying pace, anticipation,” Snape said. “He has a nose for the goal. I actually think he can score quite a few more because he gets himself in dangerous positions.”
Goldsmith played for West Bromwich Albion FC in England for five years, and then for the Nike Academy last year before coming to the U.S.
“He’s a goal scorer,” Snape said. “At the end of the day, the team that scores more wins, and right now, David is a very important piece of helping us win games.”
With big home games against Indiana University and Creighton coming up for the Bulldogs, Snape said Goldsmith and Smith will have to be key contributors in order to pick up wins.
“What we’re going to stress is to do the simple things extremely well,” Snape said. “We all love to score goals, but what they can do is to make sure their work ethic is at a real high level. If you do things real well, good things can happen.”
Goldsmith said it was tough to adjust to his new home.
“The first couple of weeks were pretty tough,” Goldsmith said. “The biggest thing for me was the weather. It was a lot hotter than I am used to, so jumping straight into the matches was tough.”
The weather was not the only factor that challenged Goldsmith while playing soccer in America.
“The pitch is a bit different,” Goldsmith said. “We play on turf, and I am used to grass. The ball bounces differently, so it took a couple of weeks to get used to it.”
Both Goldsmith and Smith adjusted to their new playing environments well. Both already have large roles on the team. Goldsmith starts and plays most, if not the whole match, while Smith comes off the bench when the team needs energy.
Snape said he had a feeling throughout the entire recruiting process these two were special players.
“I think what we have is a team around them that has been mature,” Snape said. “If David and Anthony had come two years ago, I don’t think they would have had as big of an impact. The older players are really teaching them the ways of Butler and college soccer.”
When Goldsmith was choosing Butler, he said he knew something felt right. He and Snape are both from England. Goldsmith said that fact played a role in his decision to come to Butler.
“It had a massive play, to be fair,” Goldsmith said. “When we were speaking on the phone, he knew exactly what I was going through. He knew the opportunities that I would have here and the ones that I would have back in England. I trusted him quite a lot. And that is why I came here.”
Goldsmith said it was a moment like no other when he put on Butler blue for the first time.
“The first time I put on the uniform, it was a pretty proud moment,” Goldsmith said. “Just to see the logo and see everyone around campus wearing the logo was great. So to play for them is quite nice.”
Snape stresses teamwork, And the two freshmen get that.
“Goldie and A.R. will be the first ones to say that they are nothing without their teammates, and their teammates applaud them when they put the ball in the back of the net,” Snape said.
As the team enters the grind of the conference season, the competition will become more challenging. Smith and Goldsmith are both ready for it.
“Winning the Big East Player of the Week award was great,” Goldsmith said. “It’s always nice to get recognitions like that, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t win anything at the end of the season.”