Explained: Play soccer abroad in Australia

Explained: Play soccer abroad in Australia

Always wondered how you could play football in Australia? This blog explains how you can secure a move to a semi-professional soccer club in Australia and tells you all you need to know about football in Australia.

Champions League and MLS players join the Soccer Smart USA team!

Soccer Smart USA are delighted to welcome two of its newest staff of members to the Soccer Smart Team. Former Champions League player and Gibraltar international Anthony Bardon brings a wealth of experience and knowledge on the international stage to our team. He was born in London, England but made an early move to Dallas Texas where during his high school years he represented Solar, Dallas Texans and the DFW tornadoes. Following his successful graduation from a US Soccer Scholarship he went on to play professionally for Bromley and Barnet in the UK.  Anthony finally made his move to a top tier team by signing for the Lincoln Red Imps in Gibraltar (find out how you can play here too) with whom he has enjoyed endless success, winning 3 league titles in 4 years and playing Champions and Europa League fixtures. If that wasn't enough he represented Gibraltar on the international stage playing against the worlds best teams including; Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Croatia and others!


We'd also like to extend a warm welcome to former goalkeeper Zach Downes. Zach recently finished his playing career and has now set his commitment on helping others travel the world and expand their careers through playing abroad, just like he did. 


Downes started his collegiate career with a US Soccer Scholarship at NCAA Division II Midwestern State before transferring to NCAA D-I Western Illinois. After injury, he closed out his collegiate soccer career at the University of Tampa, a NCAA D-II program where he earned first team all-conference and all-region honors. He also played with fc dallas development and the US u17-u23 national team. Consequently, his career was followed by stints with Arizona United, San Antonio FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies and made the leap into the MLS with the Philadelphia Union and Sporting KC. In his last year as a professional, he played in the Mongolian first division with Bayangol FC followed by a stint in Chinese football. Whilst in Asia he set the record for 22 saves in a professional game,  had 14 shutouts in 26 games played and finished with 134 saves. 

Zach also has vast experience in coaching and holds his USSF B coaching license and all NSCAA goalkeeping 1,2, and 3 licenses. Whilst playing in Asia, and despite being named the best goalkeeper there,  he also acted as the assistant coach for the Mongolian Sr mens national team. He was a part of the U.S. Market training centers and currently works for Solar Development Academy as Goalkeeper Director and Player/Coaching Development. In addition, he works with the U14 - U20 USA national teams boys and girls goalkeepers' during his summers works part-time with the Texas United PDL coaching staff.

We are delighted to have both Anthony and Zach on board and have no doubt their experience and knowledge will help many players further their careers either in the US or abroad. 

Why attend a Pro Soccer Combine - College Soccer 101

Why attend a Pro Soccer Combine - College Soccer 101

There are a total of 60 professional teams in the United States: 22 in the MLS, 30 in the USL and only 8 in the NASL. After college, if you are not selected into one of these teams the extent of your game turns back to Sunday league teams where the competition is low and you’re lucky if there is one practice a week. You’re back to training with a few other players that have similar mindsets and find yourself spending a lot of time passing against a wall. Many players get stuck in soccer purgatory; if they are not drafted, they begin to see how difficult the process is.


This is why it is important to attend a pro combine; it allows you to be seen by other agents and professionals who have more direct contacts to clubs not only in the U.S. but also across the world! As a player, you’ll find that professional leagues are littered across the globe. For example, in the Spanish third tier alone, there are a total of 80 senior teams! That’s more than the entire US in one country and in one tier alone. Coaches, agents and scouts love to find a diamond in the rough, and that is exactly what pro combines can offer.

   How To Become A Pro When Graduating College Soccer?

   How To Become A Pro When Graduating College Soccer?

In the United States, there are ultimately three paths to pro; being drafted directly out of college, attending open tryouts hosted by clubs, or attending professional combines held by outside agencies. Unfortunately only about 1% of players get drafted professionally while the rest of the players begin the long road and process to the professional game. Players who were named in the draft but not chosen will be forgotten. Take a look at this table below:


Note: this table represents ONLY NCAA players. So only 6 of the 81 players also represented: NAIA, NCCAA, Junior College and Community college players.

So what is the next step? As common sense one would think to join a semi-professional team and move up the ranks! Prove yourself at one level and you’re bound to move forward! Unfortunately players begin to see how “semi-professional leagues” in the United States prove to be a vicious whirlpool. No promotion. No relegation. No progression. Players find themselves stuck. With this in mind, to play at a true semi-professional level and move up the ranks, it is very important to play overseas. This allows you to prove yourself at one level to play at the next. With so many professional leagues across the world, challenging yourself overseas is a necessity.

College Sport On The Up!


College Sport On The Up!

The NFL is without a doubt, the biggest of all US Sports. The whole college sport setup itself dwarfs other sports in the nation with coverage of it as in depth as we may see here in Britain with the Premier League. According to Sporting Intelligence, in 2015 the NFL’s 23 professional teams averaged over 68,000 fans per game with the top 30 college programs averaging even more at 81,000. This is staggering and if combined, would make it the highest attended sports league on Earth. Soccer scholarships in the USA are big business and at Soccer Smart we know all about this!

This level of popularity has allowed US colleges to create some of the most advanced facilities anywhere in the world which dozens of our Soccer Smart Athletes have been able to discover first hand during their time in the states. Take for example Sean Holmes, Danny Carroll and James Halpin who have excelled during their time out there! Dino James played summer league in front of 8000 fans which is something very few people get to do.


It’s not only the facilities that have been effected by the sizeable revenue of college sports with coaches and staff being paid huge salaries. The defensive coordinator at the University of Oregon has a reported $1.15 million annual salary package which is enough to hire 10 assistant professors! There are several college sport coaches around America with similar salaries to this. As you can see below, some coaches at this level are on absolutely staggering salaries which would rival coaches in premier divisions of other sports all around the world.

American Football coach salaries at college level.

The issue with all of this is that NCAA has a philosophy regarding amateurism and says…

“Amateur competition is a bedrock principle of college athletics. The collegiate model of sports, the young men and women competing on the field or court are students first, athletes second.”

It will certainly be interesting to see how far this rapid expansion goes and whether the NCAA will have to move away from their ethos in the coming years. College sport is certainly on the rise.

Get in touch with Soccer Smart for more information on soccer scholarships in the USA as well as information on our Spanish Soccer academies! 



He’s a teammate of former Ballon d’or winner Kaka as well as former AC Milan and Italy star Antonio Nocerino. He is also seen by some as one, if not the best young player in the MLS and already has 19 appearances for Canada. Of course we are talking about Orlando City’s Cyle Larin who himself has been through the MLS Player Combine!

Cyle, who has an astonishing 43 goals in 85 gamres for Orlando City was the first pick of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. The SuperDraft setup is similar to the draft you would expect in other sports in the USA. Players are currently attending the Adidas Major League Soccer Player Combine in Los Angeles where players are showing off their talent for the chance to make an impact on the MLS scene like Larin has done in recent season. You can view all the highlights of the games so far here

Athletes of ours who excel while out in the States do have the possibility to be involved with this extremely prestigious event! If you believe you have the talent like the latest bunch of Combine athletes have then get involved in one of our upcoming trials!