Diné scores for Bacone soccer team
By Barbara Boxleitner
Special to the Times
CAPE CORAL, Fla.
The Bacone College (Oklahoma) men’s soccer team hasn’t had much offense this season.
But Piedra Vista High graduate Leonardo Hoskie Smith is among the six Warriors who have scored.
“It finally happened,” the Diné forward said. “I’m glad.”
He scored in the second-to-last game on the schedule, a 6-2 win over Ecclesia College. He said he was about 18 yards out with a defender near him.
“I slowed down and went around him,” he said, adding that his shot went to the bottom left corner. “He (the goalkeeper) got his hands on it. It hit the post and went in.”
Through 12 games (2-8-2), opponents outscored Bacone by a nearly 4-to-1 ratio and managed 123 shots on goal compared with Bacone’s 37, according to DakStats.
Bacone head coach Roosevelt Peters has been playing Smith on the front line because, he said, “he’s a target” during offensive attacks.
“I’ve been on the field quite a bit,” said Smith, who played seven games and missed five, including three consecutive, because of illness. “Coach is just trying to make the team more experienced.”
He is stronger with his right foot yet doesn’t play on the right.
“I put him on the left, so he can cut in and take the shots,” Peters said.
At 5-foot-11, Smith is the second-tallest among the forwards and midfielders and matches up well against defenders Peters said are 6-foot-2 or taller.
“With his size, he’s good at holding the ball,” the coach said. “He competes in the air, and he challenges.”
Although he started twice, Smith prefers being a substitute.
“I can analyze the game better,” he said. “I can tell where I need to be, where they’re looking at and not defending the ball.”
The coach agrees that his strength is coming in off the bench.
“He’s like a super-sub,” Peters said.
Smith is happy with his first season but said, “I have high expectations for myself. I need to be better. The game pace is much faster. I need to read the game faster and have better movement.”
He wants to become more aggressive and less tentative, especially in shooting, now that his ball skills and field vision have improved.
“My passing got a lot better,” he said. “I don’t really dribble that much. I try to get the ball off as fast as I can.”