We close out an amazing second season of episodes with a special year-end conversation featuring the US pro soccer pioneer who is, at least indirectly, responsible for the creation of this little podcast.
Just weeks after signing with the fledgling New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League in January 1976, league All Star Bobby Smith (along with fellow Philadelphia Atoms teammate Bob Rigby) was already out pounding the promotional pavement in support of his new club – including (unwittingly) a stop at host Tim Hanlon’s then-elementary school in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey to hand out recreational league trophies and sign autographs.
The seeds of life-long pro soccer fandom were quickly sown, soon blossoming into an obsession with America’s most famous and successful franchise – and, over time, morphing into an enduring fascination with professional teams and leagues across all sports which, like the Cosmos and the NASL, ultimately came and went.
Defender extraordinaire Smith joins the podcast to discuss his remarkable American pro soccer career before, during and after winning back-to-back NASL titles (1977, 78) with the Cosmos – including:
Winning his first league championship with the inaugural 1973 Philadelphia Atoms;
A skills-enhancing off-season loan to Irish first division side Dundalk in 1974-75;
Playing alongside world’s-best talent like Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia, and Carlos Alberto during his time in New York;
Post-Cosmos stops with the NASL’s San Diego Sockers, Philadelphia Fury and Montreal Manic;
Indoor soccer adventures with the MISL’s 1980-81 Philadelphia Fever;
18 caps with the US National Team during the 1970s; AND
Induction into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2007.