By Aila Boyd
Pictured are Heather Smith (left), Bill Smith, Matthew Smith, and Tim Wright.
Photo by Aila Boyd

Matt Smith, a senior midfielder at Lord Botetourt High School, committed to play soccer at Montreat College earlier this month.

This is a big deal,” Tim Wright, boys’ varsity soccer coach at Lord Botetourt, said. “It has been an honor to serve as your coach.”

He explained that he has been able to get to know Smith well over the past four years. The attributes that best define Smith, Wright said, include his positive attitude, character, leadership, and skill level.

I think hard work is a common denominator when it comes to his character, attitude, leadership ability, and skill level. I think hard work sharpens those qualities,” Wright said. “I believe hard work is at the heart of it. I believe Matt is sitting where he is today because of hard work.”

Wright went on to note that Smith’s positive attitude is “contagious” in the classroom as well as on the soccer field. He added that Smith constantly emerges as a natural leader because of just how hard he works.

He’s one of the most talented players I’ve had the privilege of coaching,” Wright said.

Bill Smith, Matt’s father, explained that he keeps a whiteboard in the weight room of his house. On the whiteboard, he said, his son has written: “Hard work pays off.” The desire to work hard, he said, was sparked once his son realized that he wanted to play soccer both in college and professionally.

You can tell from looking at him that he’s not the tallest guy,” he said of his son, noting that he has been able to compensate for his relative short stature through his hard work and dedication.

Smith stated that he feels that the saying “It takes a village to raise a man” perfectly hit the nail on the head for his experience growing up. He explained that the only reason he is where he is now is because of his parents, coaches, and fellow athletes and students.

Montreat College is a private Christian liberal arts college based in North Carolina.