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Sporting KC winger Smith goes on leave for remainder of MLS season


Photo by Nick Turchiaro/

Sporting Kansas City has had to cope without speedy winger Ryan Smith for much of the 2011 season, and it turns out it will have do so for the remainder of the campaign as well.

The team announced Tuesday that Smith will miss the rest of the season, returning home to England due to unspecified "family reasons."

"It's never easy for international players who come to MLS when they have to live far away from their families. This situation is no different," Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes said. "With some of the family issues that Ryan has back at home, he felt like this was the best decision for both him and his family, and we support him."

Smith, hampered by injuries this year, appeared in six games for SKC, starting twice in his second season with the club. He had three goals and seven assists last season.

What do you think of this development?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. thought he was the best player on the field most nights when he was motivated. plays at a different speed than most in this league. too bad for SKC and MLS.

  2. I have a tough time figuring if I want to watch the so-called “physical/thug style” of the American league or the “fish out of water flop fest that is pandemic in Europe. If that’s the trade off for “protecting the skill players more,” I’m not sure it’s worth it.

    That said, I think referees enforcing fouls a bit more while the league handed out suspensions for diving would do more to improve our quality across the board.

  3. I always got the sense that Ryan Smith was unhappy in KC and/or MLS. He got fouled a lot, sat out a lot with injury, missed practices because of being “sick,” complained a lot while he was on the field. I doubt he’ll be back with KC, hopefully we can get some $$$ from another club.

    He should have gotten better protection from the referees. He was so quick and good on the dribble that defenders hacked him to pieces, and referees rarely punished the offenders harshly. If MLS wants the quality of play to improve, the referees need to start protecting the skill players more. I’m not advocating giving stars the Kobe/MJ NBA-style treatment, but the physical/thug nature of the league restricts the beautiful game.

  4. Agree about Smith’s nomadic club life. However, this seams to be a Vermes related issue. Smith has clashed with Vermes on several occasions. My sense is Vermes struggles with managing his better players such Bunbury and Smith.

  5. Midfielder Rocastle is out for injury, the position’s depth is quickly waning.

    Smith’s strength is beating people off the dribble, he does it all the time and it’s fun to watch. But I don’t like his decision making and passing. Often he burns people just to take a weak distance shot, or turn it over trying to burn the next 3 guys. Too many turnovers. I will miss him though.

    Fortunately Zusi and Sassano have been stepping up big time the last few games.

  6. Truth b told, the formation/style of play which has gotten 6 pts in the last 2 games for skc doesn’t really fit with Smiths talents/game. However, the skc schedule is insane now and depth is needed. He is extremely talented with the ball, perhaps the best touch and foot skills in the league. Regardless of the tactical situation, this is a blow to our club.

  7. As a SKC season ticket holder I am so bummed out right now. Smith (when healthy) is one of the most entertaining players to watch. Hopefully the family issues are not too serious.

  8. Probably homesick. I’ll be surprised if he returns to KC/MLS, good talent but seems to have problems sticking with clubs.

  9. Smith has had problems at EVERY club he has ever played for. He has a wealth of talent and looked to be a sure bet for the Sr team at Arsenal at one point. Whether it’s been injuries, managerial disagreements or simply “other” reasons…Smith has NEVER stuck with a team. It’s unfortunate as he’s a real talent.


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