Written By: Abigail Yusella
We all have certain people in our lives that we look up to for inspiration. It may be because of their personality traits, their success, or even their connection that we just feel we relate. For junior soccer player Shane Smith, it is all of the above when it comes to the Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback, Carson Wentz.
Smith started playing soccer at five years old when he realized he had a true love for the game. He decided to attend Neumann University because of the family environment he recognized within the team. Very similar to the Eagles locker room, they are more of a family than a team. However, during the off season of his sophomore year, Shane left a practice a little different than he normally would. During practice, Shane tore his ACL leaving him sidelined through the end of his junior season. He said that he wouldn’t have been upset about the injury if it happened during a game, because then it would have meant something. During practice, it just seemed so senseless.
When Smith heard the news about Carson Wentz tearing his ACL just a few months later, he was extremely upset. He feels that although this setback is hurting him, he’s still in the game and handling the injury very well. He’s still in Foles’ ear and down on the sidelines with the team. Smith has been a fan of Wentz since the day he started in the NFL. He has made such an impact on the league on and off the field. Smith wears a Dutch Destroyer bracelet everyday not only because Wentz does, but because he also wanted to donate to a charity that is so deserving.
When asked about the most important qualities a professional athlete could have, Smith thinks dedication is at the top of the list. He feels that he also possesses this quality because he is locked in on what he wants and needs to stay focused and determined to achieve it. Being courageous is also an important trait for an athlete to have. Smith says that athletes get injured all the time and how they handle it can make or break their career. What Smith admires most about Wentz is his hard work, his desire to never give up, and his willingness to help others at all times.
The Institute for Sport, Spirituality, and Character Development is focused on the personal growth of the student athletes at Neumann University. Out of the five pillars of core values, Smith finds reflection to be most important pillar in his life. As a junior, he is reflecting on his time here at Neumann not just on the field, but everywhere on campus. He feels it is important to use this time to look at the impact we have left here and encourage the next generation to make change as well.
For the rest of his collegiate soccer career, Smith is very optimistic. Just recently, he heard the best news in a long time, beside the Eagles going to the Super Bowl. Earlier this month Smith was fully cleared from his ACL surgery. He is grateful for everyone who has helped him through the process and cannot wait to get back on the field. His advice for Wentz during his recovery period would be to keep pushing hard with a positive mindset because every day is one day closer to getting back to the sport you love.