Right Back Nathan Smith: The “Small Pit Bull” Impresses Coaches And Teammates

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CARSON, CA - APRIL 7: Nathan Smith #16 of Los Angeles Galaxy clears the ball during Los Angeles Galaxy's MLS match against Montreal Impact at the StubHub Center on April 7, 2017 in Carson, California. The LA Galaxy won the match 2-0 (Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images)

Editorial (April 9, 2017) – He’s an MLS Rookie, he’s 22-years-old, and he’s starting to earn his stripes. Homegrown Nathan Smith has three starts and four appearances this season for the LA Galaxy. After a home win against the Montreal Impact, he’s impressing his coaches and teammates.

Right Back Nathan Smith: The “Small Pit Bull” Impresses Coaches And Teammates

Smith was signed as a Homegrown the week before the season started this year. He’s an LA Galaxy Academy product and spent three years at UCLA. He spent 2016 with LA Galaxy II in the USL, being coached by current Galaxy Head Coach, Curt Onalfo. He has appeared in four straight games, starting three of them. For now, it looks like he as unseeded Rafael Garcia as the starting right back.

Recently though, he’s earning his stripes and impressing those around him.

“It’s great to see a young player who played just one year with Galaxy II then gets his opportunity and look what he’s done with it. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I’m really pleased with his performance and how he’s played. He’s just stepped into that situation like it’s no big deal and he’ll continue to get better,” said Head Coach Curt Onalfo about the player this week.

Onalfo was hired in part to help the Los Dos players ripen into MLS caliber players. Smith is the only Los Dos players from last season to see the field from the first team so far. He and Clement Diop are the only ones to play the majority of the season so far. Onalfo saw something in him last season that gave him confidence last year. The youngster is working his tail off and making the opportunity count.

Smith has mainly been pared with Romain Alessandrini in front of him. The two haven’t overlapped together too much. They’ve both getting used to their new teammates and the league. Still, he’s been making an impression on the veterans.

Jermaine Jones was very complementary of his teammate: “He’s like a small Pit Bull. He’s going up and down. He’s good, and if he stays how he is right now, he has a future in this league.”

The kid still has a long way to go. He’s got to get more involved in the attack. But for an MLS Rookie, he’s getting the job done. Every dog has his day, even the small Pit Bull.

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