Smith is Avila Bound

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Andalusia senior Christopher Smith signed a letter of intent to play soccer and scholarship to Avila University, out of Kansas City, Mo., about a month ago. | File photo

Andalusia senior signs scholarship to Kansas City school

Christopher Smith found himself in a hairy situation.

Playing goalie for the Gulf Coast Texans last season at the Disney Showcase, his club soccer team was one save away from advancing to the championship in penalty kicks.

Smith jumps off the line and the ball hits his foot and ricochets in the opposite direction.

That save gave the Texans a championship berth, where they finished as runner up.

Smith will take his cat-like reflexes and confident attitude to play soccer at Avila University in Kansas City, Mo., next year.

Smith, an Andalusia senior, signed a letter of intent and scholarship to play at Avila about a month ago, and from the looks of it, he’s pretty excited about the opportunity.

“(Being able to start) as a freshman, it really interested me, and the scholarship opportunity,” Smith said.

Avila University is a Catholic institution, something Smith said also drove him to play there.

“Since I’m Catholic, I want to keep that faith there,” he said.

Since he was 4 years old, Smith has been putting both his hands and feet to the soccer ball as a goalie, the only position he’s ever known.

Chris’ mom, Maria, has been the central driving force throughout his soccer life.

A dream of Smith’s is to play soccer for his mom’s country of origin, Venezuela.

“I’d make it my nationality, so I’d have duel citizenship,” he said.

Year round, Smith plays soccer for the Texans, who are based out of Pensacola, Fla.

“We’re doing well,” Smith said about the Texans this season. “We have one more tournament in December, which is the college cup final four tournament. It’s the NCAA national championship.”

This spring, Smith said he’s aiming to play for the Bulldogs’ soccer team in their second season. AHS didn’t win a game in its first season.

“It’s going to be good because I’m going to play this year,” he said. “To build up the program, that’s why I’m out there.

“The little kids who are out there now, the All-Star group, will be phenomenal,” he said.

When asked why he chose Avila to play soccer, other than his faith and the fact that it’s located in a big city, Smith said the coaching staff made it an easier decision.

“It was the school, the coaching staff,” he said. “(Avila assistant coach) Brett Koziczkowski, he was very nice and just he’s a great guy.”

Smith said it takes a lot to play at goalie.

“You have to be smart. You have to be confident,” he said. “You have to know the game. You’re standing in the goal, watching out and you have to know where to put the ball and where to distribute.

“If you’re not confident, then the defense will not be confident in you, either,” he said. “Usually, he’s the captain.”

Smith said he has aspirations to play soccer for the European, Costa Rica and England leagues.

Avila will be the starting point, he said.

“It’s going to be awesome (at Avila),” Smith said. “I’m very excited.”

Christopher is the son of Maria Smith of Andalusia.