Walk amongst the San Antonio sports community and it’s business as usual.
-The Spurs are making their normal push towards the NBA playoffs.
-The Rampage are fighting to secure a playoff spot in the American Hockey League.
-The Missions are getting ready for opening day in the Texas League.
Business as usual.
Walk amongst the San Antonio soccer community, and you’ll feel the ‘electric buzz’ in the air.
The ‘buzz’ being the inaugural game for the San Antonio Scorpions, North American Soccer League’s newest member.
As SAS readies for the Atlanta Silverbacks in Atlanta this Saturday, The Crocketteers caught up with Defender Karsten Smith for an exclusive look at the mindset of the squad.
When inquiring about the ‘buzz’ around the locker room leaning more towards normal or nervousness, Smith set the atmosphere as being relatively calm.
We have a lot of experienced players who have played in many professional seasons at the highest level, so that has trickled down to all of us younger guys.
The SAS roster consists of players from Major League Soccer, as well as several international players hailing from Mexico, Brazil, Holland, and England. With this type of experience throughout the ranks, it is natural that the veterans have taken over the locker room’s command and control, placing the younger lads at ease.
The most important match for a team is the season opener, especially for an expansion team playing their first game.
The opener sets the tone for the season, good or bad.
Smith stated that SAS Head Coach Tim Hankinson has made it crystal clear what his expectations are of the team; Win.
Coach has put an emphasis on how our number this weekend is “3”. Meaning 3 points for a victory.
Although relatively new to professional soccer, this isn’t Karsten Smith’s first rodeo. He trialed with FC Lorient in France and SHB Da Nang in Vietnam, but chose to sign closer to home. It was nearly one year ago to the day that the defender started for another expansion team, F.C. New York of the USL.
There is some deja vu, but this is a new and better team with a much stronger supporting cast…..I’m officially the ‘youngest’ on the team at twenty-three years old; but there is so much more experience around me.
Regardless of the sport, assessing the success of an expansion team can be difficult and unfair.
Do you base it off wins and losses? Ticket sales? The gauge is undefinable.
When the subject was broached of how he would assess the team’s success, Smith simplified the issue:
Win the championship while playing attractive football. Winning conquers all.
Winning does conquer all.
SAS players and coaches have set the bar high for the 2012 season. “Nothing short of winning” is resonating throughout the Scorpions.
Rest assured, come April 7th in Atlanta, Karsten Smith and his back line will play with passion to ensure they put San Antonio soccer on the map.
David Casarez is Senior Editor for The Crocketteers. Follow him on Twitter @soccernomic