Austin Smith (field hockey)

Austin Charles Smith (born 20 May 1985) is South African field hockey player who plays as a defender for Dutch club HC Den Bosch and the South African national team.

Austin Smith
Glasgow 2014 - Hockey (8).jpg
Smith (right) at the 2014 Commonwealth Games
Personal information
Full name Austin Charles Smith
Born (1985-05-20) 20 May 1985 (age 34)
Cape Town, South Africa
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current club Den Bosch
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005–2009 Reading
2009– Den Bosch
National team
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004– South Africa 165

Smith competed for South Africa at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, the 2010 and 2014 Hockey World Cups, and at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games.[1] He has also competed at the 2005, 2009 and 2011 Men's Champions Challenge. He became captain of the side in 2009.[2]

BiographyEdit

Smith was born in Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa. He started hockey at the age of five years, and his parents played hockey for a number of years in South Africa and England. It was at Smith's Primary School, Pinelands North, where he was introduced to hockey, among other sports. His coach at Pinelands, Murray Anderson, inspired Smith to focus on hockey.

When Smith started at Pinelands High School he had already achieved success, having represented his Province at U13 level. He went on to represent South Africa U16 and U18 teams and became captain of each. He attributes a large amount of his achievement to one factor: "I was extremely lucky to have such dedicated coaches at both my Primary and High School. Michael McConnachie who spearheaded the hockey at the High School was my biggest mentor, and made me truly believe in myself."

In March 2004 aged 18, Smith achieved his lifelong dream of representing his country at a senior level. "It was an incredible feeling walking onto the field to play my first match for South Africa, and it remains a special moment every time I wear the green and gold." In 2005 Austin represented South Africa at the U21 World Cup in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Smith moved to the United Kingdom in 2005 to join Reading Hockey Club. He spent four seasons at Reading, winning the Premier League twice and making the final eight of the Euro Hockey League on consecutive occasions.[3]

2008 was a defining year in Smith's hockey career as he achieved another childhood dream by attending the Olympic Games. Despite South Africa's final placing of 12th in Beijing, he was the team's top goal scorer with four goals. To finish off the year he was named South African Men's Hockey Player of the Year as well as Reading Hockey Club's Player of the Year.

In 2009 Smith decided to leave the UK to join HC 's-Hertogenbosch in The Netherlands. Earlier on in the year he was named the captain of the South African squad, and leading them to victory in the African Championship to qualify for the World Cup in 2010. Smith was also named in the World All-Star Team for his performances in 2009.

In 2010 Smith captained the South African squad at the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games where they finished in 10th and 5th respectively. Later on in the year, he was named South African Men's Hockey Player of the Year for a second time.[4][5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Austin Smith Bio, Stats, and Results - Olympics at Sports-Reference.com". Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  2. ^ "Austin Smith (Captain)". sahockey.co.za. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  3. ^ "EHL statistics". Fixtureslive.com. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  4. ^ Austin's Story, archived from the original on 12 July 2012, retrieved 17 November 2012
  5. ^ "Glasgow 2014 – Austin Smith Profile". Retrieved 10 December 2014.