Reece Smith signed his first Maidenhead United contract just over a week ago and the Reading-born teenager – part of the Magpies Under 18 side which made history by reaching the Third Round proper of the FA Youth Cup in successive seasons – is keen to make an impression.
Smith made his full Maidenhead United first-team debut in the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup last season and has already been named in Alan Devonshire’s matchday squad in the early stages of this National League season. Smith has also spent time recently with Banstead Athletic – managed by Devonshire’s former assistant Carl Taylor – impressing A’s followers with a couple of assists in recent Combined Counties League matches.
The former St Crispin’s School, Wokingham pupil had his grounding in Berkshire youth football which has stood him in good stead. Smith recalls his time with Ashridge Park – where it all started for Reece – and an all-conquering Eldon Celtic side fondly: “I enjoyed every minute of playing. You can get so caught up in everything you can sometimes forget to actually enjoy what you are doing, which is the main part of football and the reason I started!”
Smith is a down-to-earth, level-headed, likeable youngster with an uncomplicated attitude. Even last season he was turning up to Magpies Allied Counties Youth League matches with his kit in a carrier bag, much to the amusement of his teammates and a management team who held him in high esteem.
Indeed, Magpies Academy manager Aaron O’Brien is proud to see one of his protégés graduate to the First Team at York Road: “Reece is a technically gifted player who has a great understanding of the game. He is comfortable with both feet and can play on either side of the pitch. Over the past three years, Reece has shown an unbelievable amount of desire and willingness to listen and learn. This led to him training with the First Team last year and this was the challenge he needed to kick on.”
Maidenhead fans and his mentors at the club will be looking forward to seeing how this exciting local prospect can develop.