The LA Galaxy signed former Los Dos defender Nathan Smith to a homegrown contract in March. After impressing with the team’s USL affiliate, the club decided to add him to the first-team to provide depth.
Smith became the eighth homegrown player on the roster alongside Gyasi Zardes, Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal to name a few. Thus far, Smith has not disappointed in his three club appearances as he has made two consecutive starts and is playing himself into a full-time starter.
The ex-UCLA standout told Adam Serrano of LA Galaxy how he has adapted so quickly to the first-team unit, most notably with new Designated Player Romain Alessandrini:
“I feel like I’m adapting really well. Just from training everyday with the guys that we have makes it a lot easier to make the jump. I want to know everything. From situational to communication to decision making, I just want to learn from everyone and grow in the experiences,” Smith told LA Galaxy Insider. “I think I make it hard for teams to play against me one v. one and I think I’m doing well possessing the ball. I think that [Romain and I] have a good connection. When I go wide, he’s inside, and when I tuck in, he goes wide. It gives the defenses problems, and they must worry about us being in their blind spot.”
22-year-old Smith has the ability to make full-fledged runs on the wings supporting the outside midfielders. The Galaxy have no shortage of attacking options and adding Smith to the mix will make them that much more dangerous. Smith played under head coach Curt Onalfo with the Galaxy II and that familiarity is slowly paying dividends:
“I think it was important because it was a big step for me to take as I grow as a player at the professional level and I got more experience as well,” he said. “I knew that [Curt] trusted me and I trusted him, and that gave me all the confidence.”
A number of players on the Galaxy are well-known to Onalfo, which increases their chances to play with the first-team. Smith is just one the few who are benefitting and seizing their opportunity.
Smith is a very versatile wing-back that can play on either side of the defense. His ability to forge chemistry with his wingers makes him a threat to the opposition as he can make dangerous runs on the side. With Robbie Rogers still on the sidelines, look for Smith to continue earning the starting nod and carve his niche on the team.