Former New England Revolution midfielder Khano Smith’s MLS career came to a screeching halt in 2010 at just 29-years-old thanks to extremely inconsistent and often frustrating play. Now former Revs assistant coach and current Toronto FC director of player development Paul Mariner believes the ex-pro could make a comeback at left back, according to a report in the Bermuda Gazette.
Mariner, who this offseason turned to Smith’s home country of Bermuda to sign 20-year-old midfielder Reggie Lambe, believes there is more talent to be had in the 106th-ranked Bermuda. Lambe, like Smith, is a wide midfielder noted for his speed, though he has a promising pedigree having played for Ipswich Town F.C. in the English League Championship.
The Revs had initially spotted Smith playing in Bermuda for the Dandy Town Hornets while on a preseason trip in 2005. Then head coach Steve Nicol signed him hoping he could use his speed and sometimes decent crossing abilities to terrorize defenses. It worked on occasion, but Mariner believes Smith’s career was partially derailed by watching and trying to imitate top players who had a different skillset.
“Stevie Nicol and I used to always try and tell Khano to use his natural abilities but I think he used to watch too much of [Real Madrid and Portugal midfielder] Cristiano Ronaldo and players of that ilk,” Mariner told the Gazette. “We used to tell him to knock it past the guy, run past him, cross it in the box and then you’ve done your job. There’s no need to try and look fantastic with tricks.”
Smith played 101 matches, including 60 starts, for the Revs and tallied eight goals and 12 assists from 2005-2010 with a failed stint at Lincoln City F.C., a English League 2 side (fourth division), in 2009. He added an additional goal and an assist in 10 playoff games (4 starts) for the Revs. Smith also had an unsuccessful spell with the New York Red Bulls in 2009 before joining Lincoln City.
According to the report, Smith is now playing amateur soccer in Boston, Mass, while working on his coaching license.
Now Mariner won’t rule out potentially bringing Smith in at his new club, Toronto FC, to play left back.
“I know Khano did very, very well playing at the center of defense and at left-back during Bermuda’s qualifiers,” Mariner told the Gazette. “Khano’s six foot four and there’s no reason why he can’t play left-back because there’s nobody running by him, there’s nobody beating him upstairs.”
For Revolution fans who had thought they had seen the last of Smith in MLS after a disastrous 2010 season, don’t be surprised if the Bermuda captain gets another shot with Mariner at Toronto in 2012.