As he approaches members of the media in Montreal to conduct an interview last week, midfielder Blake Smith is asked, “Have you learned any French yet?”
His response with a little trepidation: “I was told to say: J’aime les Québécoises?!”
Smith is trying to earn his first pro contract and he knows that he will have to pay his dues with the veterans on the team, both on the pitch and off of it, but so far, the Impact’s first pick (8th overall) in this year’s SuperDraft is relishing every minute of it.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” said the University of New Mexico product of his first pro camp. “The first week was mostly just getting used to the routine and the speed of play. Now, I’m able to settle down and play with more confidence. It’s a new experience and it’s been great so far.”
With added confidence comes more ease in Smith’s game and he has shown more of his flash in training recently with blazing speed and some flick over moves during scrimmages.
“That’s just part of my game; it comes with being more confident.”
Part of the reason the Texas native has shown more self-assurance is the ease with which he is settling in with the Impact’s head coach, Marco Schällibaum.
“He’s been a great coach for me. He’s very encouraging towards me, but is also very demanding. He wants all of his players to do the best that they can and he looks to get the best out of you in every session, which I think is important at this level.”