Ross Smith

*Indicates unconfirmed information. Figures in brackets after English team names indicate all appearances made and goals scored in competitive matches for Football League clubs from 1888 onwards. For Scottish League clubs the figures show details of all competitive appearances and goals scored from 1946/47 onwards.

Ross Smith

Appearances: 35+1 Goals: 3

Date / Year of birth: 4th November 1980

Position: Centre-back

Season of first appearance: 2004/05

Season of last appearance: 2004/05

Also played for: Dixie (Canada), Montrose (Scotland), Rhode Island Stingrays (USA), Gravesend & Northfleet, Dagenham & Redbridge (25+2,1), Rochester Rhinos (USA), Colorado Rapids (USA), Ebbsfleet United and Portland Timbers (USA)

Rugged 6' 1" tall defender who was born in Guelph, Ontario to British parents and played basketball, volleyball and rugby as well as football for E.C. Drury High School in Ontario whilst studying there. Ross also played for the Dixie club of Mississauga and helped them to win the Ontario Provincial Cup Championship in 1998 when he was 17.

In 1999 Ross moved to the USA to start a course at the University of Rhode Island and began playing for the university's football team - the Rhode Island Stingrays. He became known as 'The Ginger Clicker' and played 19 times as the Stingrays won the Atlantic 10 Conference title for the 1999 season.

Early in 2000 Ross spent some time studying in Scotland between Rhode Island university terms and he was briefly on Montrose's books. Most of Ross' family lived in the Montrose area and he had dual Canadian / British citizenship.

After returning to the USA Ross featured in 19 out of the 20 Atlantic 10 Conference games Rhode Island played in during the 2000 campaign and he was then ever-present during the 2001 season, making a total of 18 appearances. Ross' performances resulted in him being a pick for the Verizon Academic all-District One, All-New England third team and all-Atlantic 10 first team selections.

He became the Stingrays' captain for the 2002 campaign and Ross was again selected for the first team of the honourary All-Atlantic 10 side.

His last season at Rhode Island was 2003 and the university's website said Ross was "arguably the top defender in New England...a hard-nosed player who provides toughness in the backfield... a leader both on and off the field".

In 2004 Ross moved to England and in the summer of that year he joined Margate at the same time as his former Rhode Island team-mate Peter Benevides. Ross had to wait for international clearance before he could play for Margate and eventually made his debut as a substitute in a 3-1 defeat at Braintree in the FA Cup on 16.10.04. Ross replaced the injured Bill Edwards after 26 minutes and the Thanet Times said he "did little wrong". Ross started Margate's next game - a 2-0 defeat at Sutton in the Conference South on 26.10.04 - and from then on he was virtually ever-present in the heart of the defence.

In its report on a 2-0 win at Welling in the Conference Cup on 2.11.04 the Isle of Thanet Gazette said Ross "looked a useful acquisition" and Margate's assistant manager Kevin Raine told the paper "Ross Smith has given us another option at the back, and we've been pleased with everything he's done." The Thanet Times described him as "reliable" in a 5-1 win over Havant & Waterlooville at Margate's adopted home in Ashford on 13.11.04, a match in which Ross suffered a badly cut eye at the end of the first half. In its report on a 1-0 defeat at Hornchurch on 4.12.04 the Thanet Times said Ross "seemed to spend as much time berating keeper Peter Trego as he did taking care of Sigere" - a reference to former Margate striker Jean-Michel Sigere. However the paper added Ross "was one of the few Gate players to really impress on the day with a dominant display all over the defensive third".

On 18.12.04 Ross scored his first goal for Margate in a 2-2 draw at Weymouth and the Isle of Thanet Gazette said he was "impeccable" in a 2-1 defeat against Welling at Ashford on 28.12.04. Ross scored again in a 3-1 win over Dagenham & Redbridge in the Conference Cup at Ashford on 25.1.05 and the Gazette said he was "assured" in defence.

The praise from the press continued to flow and the Thanet Times said Ross showed "real talent at centre-half" in its report on a 2-1 win at Thurrock on 29.1.05. The paper then said he was "outstanding...rarely losing out in a tackle" in a 2-1 win over Basingstoke at Ashford on 5.2.05 before saying Ross "was, as he has been so often this season, Margate's best player on the day" in a 2-0 defeat at Newport on 12.2.05. The KM Extra agreed and described Ross as Margate's 'find' of the season before adding "he must surely be in line to be Player of the Year, after a string of consistent performances at the heart of the Margate defence".

Ross continued to impress as the 2004/05 campaign entered its later stages and the Isle of Thanet Gazette said he was "a rock at the back" in a 2-1 defeat at Crawley in the Conference Cup on 15.3.05. The Gazette then said Ross "excelled yet again" in a 2-0 defeat against Cambridge City at Ashford on 28.3.05 and added "the committed Smith has been a revelation since joining in October and he is set to attract plenty of attention over the summer". On 30.4.05 Ross got his third goal of the season with a thumping header from an Adrian Clarke corner that secured a 1-0 win over Bognor Regis at Ashford but by then Margate's relegation from the Conference South had already been confirmed. Ross played once more - picking up a Kent Senior Cup winners' medal after Margate beat Dover 2-1 in the Final at Folkestone on 2.5.05 - before leaving the club at the end of the campaign. He'd made a total of 36 appearances, one as a substitute.

After playing in friendlies for Gravesend & Northfleet in July 2005 Ross signed a one-year full-time contract with the Conference outfit in August 2005. His Gravesend career got off to a bad start when he was sent off for a foul in a 2-0 home defeat against Exeter on 13.8.05 but Ross soon became a key player for the Fleet and won three 'Player of the Year' awards for the 2005/06 season. He also spent 2006/07 with Gravesend and by the end of the campaign Ross had scored six times in 87 appearances for the club.

Gravesend & Northfleet became Ebbsfleet United in May 2007 and a month later Ross left the club to join Football League newcomers Dagenham & Redbridge on a one-year deal.

He scored an own goal in his first outing for the Daggers as they lost 2-0 at home to West Ham in a friendly on 14.7.07 and Ross made his full debut as a first half substitute in a 2-2 draw at Southend in the Football League Trophy on 4.9.07. By the end of the 2007/08 season Ross had scored once from 27 first team outings (two as sub) and in June 2008 the Daggers offered him a one-year contract extension.

Ross turned down the deal offered to him by Dagenham & Redbridge and instead decided to return to America. He joined United Soccer League (USL) 1st Division side Rochester Rhinos for the 2008 campaign, partly to be nearer to his family, and the USL was the second tier of North American football. Ross said "It was a tough decision to leave Dagenham, but I had been waiting for this and with Rhinos in New York, it's just over the border from my family."

Ross' displays for Rochester caught the eye of Major League Soccer clubs and in January 2009 he was signed by the Colorado Rapids. However very shortly after joining the club Ross suffered what was effectively a mini heart attack. He'd had chest pains since he was a teenager but until then Ross hadn't sought any medical advice. He immediately underwent hospital tests but the results were initially thought to show that there was nothing wrong. However just before pre-season training started a cardiologist in Colorado looked at Ross' test results again and discovered that something was seriously wrong. It transpired that he'd been born with a bicuspid aortic valve in his heart and where a normal aortic valve has three flaps, Ross' had only two. As a result his aorta had become massive and Ross summed the situation up by saying "If I took a knock or something, if my aorta went - then I went." He returned home to Canada to undergo surgery and afterwards the doctors told Ross that he might still be able to continue playing football.

With his Colorado contract cancelled Ross returned to the UK in October 2009 and started training with his old club Ebbsfleet. Their manager Liam Daish spoke to the BBC Sport website about Ross and his problems and said "He's a super human being. Having worked with Ross before and knowing how fit he was and how hard he worked, it's amazing. Fitness to him was never a problem. He's not coming back to earn a million pounds a year. He's as honest as the day's long and he just wants to play his football and it shows he's got a real hunger for the game. Ross's character shows not all footballers are in it for the money."

In November 2009 he formally signed for Ebbsfleet again and Ross went on to make seven appearances for the Conference outfit before going back to the USA at the end of 2009.

In February 2010 he signed for Portland Timbers of the United States Soccer Federation Division 2 Pro League and Ross scored once from 16 outings for them before retiring at the end of the 2010 season as the Timbers moved into Major League Soccer.

In March 2011 he started working as a radio analyst for broadcasts of Timbers home matches but in January 2012 returned to England and decided to resume his playing career with Ebbsfleet - his third spell with the club. They were still in the Conference and by then Ross was still only 31.










2004/05 (MFC)

35 (51)








     Margate relegated to Isthmian League Premier Division. 
     Played in Kent Senior Cup Final (02.05.05 - beat Dover Athletic 2-1 at Folkestone Invicta FC).