Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Catching up with Johann

After suffering a third-degree ankle sprain just days before leaving for the Under-20 World Cup last summer, Johann Smith had long months of rehab ahead of him. In his first National Team camp since the injury, caught up with Johann and talked about his new opportunities.
First things first, how is the ankle?
Johann Smith: I’m 100 percent right now. Sometimes my ankle gets a bit sore but I think it will get stronger. I can’t keep worrying about it, because then it gets in your way. I'm taking care of it. Where are you living these days?
JS: I live in a small town called Westhoughten, inside of Bolton and it’s quite nice. I just got a new apartment actually, living with one of the guys who is on loan with us right now. I’m playing in the reserves for now but part of that is working through the coaching change. He hasn’t seen a lot of us yet, so I’m trying to play well enough to impress him with the reserve team. What was your time with Darlington like?
JS: It started off well, and in my first game it felt like the fans really took a liking to me. Then I reinjured my ankle before the third game with them and I tried to play through it and my ankle got worse. After that I went back to Bolton to strengthen it more.

It was hard, the injury should have taken about 8-10 weeks, but it took me about four months overall because of trying to push it. I did a little bit of rehab at home in Connecticut, then I went back to Bolton and I think I was rushed back into it.

In England, they think that you should just play through injuries, whereas in America they understand that it’s sometimes better to wait. I did feel a little pressure to come back. I was trying to impress a new manager at maybe 50 percent, and that’s all he had to judge me on. Was it hard for you to watch the Under-20 World Cup?
JS: It was a bit. Where I live in Connecticut, we couldn’t get ESPNU so we couldn’t watch it. We did get to see the Brazil game live though. My whole family watched it together and it was a little difficult wishing I was there. But I almost hurt myself more jumping up and down when Jozy scored the second goal. During the Uruguay game I kept getting internet updates and went crazy when I saw that we won. What was your flight like from England?
JS: Well, I was in Manchester at the airport and got really excited because there was a huge jet to take me to New York. Then they told me that wasn’t my plane, and pointed me toward the tiniest plane I’ve ever seen for international travel. But, surprisingly the flight was good. The flight from New York to Bradenton though was full of turbulence. I don’t understand why domestic flights in America have so much turbulence! What’s it like to be back in with the national teams?
JS: It’s a great opportunity for me. It was great to see all the guys from the U-20s getting called into the senior team, but at the same time I’ve been wondering if I was going to have that chance. I was unlucky with the timing of my injury, but getting called in with the Under-23s is an amazing opportunity. The timing has really worked out for me. What are your goals for the Under-23 team?
JS: I just want to make this team. There are a lot of great players in this age group, so it will be difficult but I think I have a chance if I do well in this camp. I think making this team would feel like a bit of redemption with the unlucky circumstance of missing the Under-20s. It’s not up to anyone but me now. I just want to impress the coaches and I think I’m capable of doing that. The focus right now is on qualifying of course and everyone dreams of playing in the Olympics.

1 comment:

J Dillah said...

Do you think boots are contributing to injury? I saw this article the other day and it made me wonder. What do you all think? I haven't seen an update in quite while on this topic...