December 22, 2006 Jamaal Smith survives Toronto FC tryouts (from TorontoFC.ca)
Smith survives Toronto FC tryouts
By Mike Ulmer / TorontoFC.ca
Toronto FC have invited defender Jamaal Smith to participate in preseason training camp. (Toronto FC)
Jamaal Smith is one-in-a-thousand.
Those are the odds he overcame in becoming the only survivor of the Toronto open tryouts, which were held all week at an indoor venue in Toronto.
Friday was the final cut day and after sorting through just over 1,000 prospects from all over North American and Europe, FC coach Mo Johnston had found his prospect.
Smith is an 18-year-old defender who plays for York University and the Mississauga Classics. He will now attend the Toronto FC training camp in Florida in February.
Smith was approached and urged to attend the camp by York coach Paul James.
"I didn't say yes or no. I was worried about my exams for university but right now I'd have to say I'm glad I came," Smith said.
The Mississauga native never saw a roster spot as his goal.
"I came to gain some exposure and maybe catch the eye of someone on staff. This is definitely a bonus."
Smith's selection made him an immediate target for the media, anxious to document his ascension from 'wannabe' to invited player. Asked if he knew how to deal with the sudden media crush, Smith laughed and said, "Can't say that I do."
He will learn, of course, about surviving media interest and about building on his game.
"I know that I have lots of stuff to work on. I'm just glad to be getting the chance."
Toronto FC invite lucky player to camp
Local Defender impresses coaching staff
Toronto FC Media Relations
Toronto FC announced Friday that they have invited defender Jamaal Smith to join the team in training camp beginning February 1st, 2007.
Smith, 18, currently plays at York University in Toronto. In his rookie season this past year he was named the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) Rookie of the Year. Prior to that, he was an OUA (Ontario University Athletics) West All-Star.
Known for his speed, strong tackling and dominance in the air, Smith help the York Lions to a record of 6-6-2.
"He's living the dream", said Head Coach Mo Johnston, "he's got a lot to learn, but he's showed us some talent during the past week".
Over 1000 players showed up for Toronto FC Open Tryouts during the week long event.
Jamaal Smith Position: Defender Height: 6-2 Weight: 185 Birthdate: February 22, 1988 Current Club: York University Lions
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