San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Saúl Martínez, Jerry Bengtson and Rony Flores are great strikers scorers and there’s a reason why. They are in the battle for the title of top scorer, but there’s a striker who is much more valuable.
He is Belizean Elroy Smith who, unlike Martinez, Bengston and Flores, serves as sweeper on Club Deportivo Savio, and from that position he has scored the seven goals that keeps him as the second top scorer of the Season Opening Tournament which gives his team a great chance of qualifying to the playoffs.
The 28 year old Smith, one of five Belizeans to play in Honduran soccer. He is not conformist: his dream is to be on a big team and he hopes he will succeed. In the meantime, he is concentrating on scoring his eighth goal against Olympia tonight in the capital.
We are surprised that as a sweeper you are in the running for top scorer.
Yes, it is very important to me. I believe there are sweepers who know how to reach the goal, but thank God, I have scored some goals.
How long have you been in Honduran soccer and how many years with Deportivo Savio?
I have been playing three years in Honduras and all three I have played with Savio.
I understand that sometimes you play as a midfielder.
When I came to Honduras, Carlos Martínez had me as a midfielder, but then he placed me as center. Last year with Professor Hernán garcía I played a few games as a midfielder, but this year I’ve only played as a striker and I feel comfortable there. The important thing is that I have scored.
How do you see your chances of winning the top scorer title?
I’m going against Saúl Martínez and other players to see if I can win the title.
Do you think you’ll win it given your disadvantage of being a sweeper?
Yes, I think it’s more difficult for me because I’m not near the opponent’s goal and besides I have to employ accuracy if I wish to achieve my objective, but I will keep fighting and let’s see what happens.
Now you are presented with another opportunity against Olimpia.
Yes, I will try tomorrow (today) to see if I can score a goal against Olympia and it motivates me to play against that team and being able to score against it. In the last game we played, I scored a penalty and now I will see if I can score from outside.
To be Belizean, you speak pretty good Spanish.
What happened is that my grandparents are Honduran, born in Trujillo, but my parents are from Belize. It was not difficult for me to adapt and speak Spanish because my grandparents had taught us.
How did a Belizean player like you end up in Honduran soccer?
They saw me play on the Belize National Selection and the current coach recommended me so I could try-out for the team along with my cousin Harrison Roches and we made it. That is why, for the past three years, I’ve been here in Honduran soccer and I’ve done well.
What is the difference you’ve noted between Belizean and Honduran soccer?
Belizean soccer is very different from that here. Here, people support the teams. There, we do not train much and you have to dedicate yourself to other things. Here they pay much better than in Belize.
What is the average earned by a player in Belize?
That depends. If you are a good player, you get paid $300 a week because there, we get paid weekly. Therefore, most players dedicate themselves to something else.
What are your goals in Honduran soccer?
I’m doing my best effort to get noticed by other important teams because I do not intend to remain with Club Deportivo Savio for the rest of my career. One has to seek a better future.
What player do you most admire in Honduran soccer?
When I had just arrived in Honduras, the one who always drew my attention due to the manner in which he played was sweeper Fabio de Souza.
What else can we expect from Elroy Smith in this tournament?
My intention is to score ten to twelve goals in this tournament.
Do you think that will be enough to earn you the top scorer title?
I do not know if it will be enough, but that’s the objective I have set for myself. I hope that with that amount [of goals] I can become top scorer.
And in relation to the possibility of your team winning against Olympia?
I have great confidence in my teammates to win that game. We have worked well and we’ll see how it goes, but I’m sure we can at least draw against Tegucigalpa.
And what about Savio’s possibilities of qualifying?
I think we stand a good chance. We have four away games and two at home. In my opinion, it is not impossible to qualify. We can reach the top of the league if we want.
Elroy Smith, a lucrative Belizean immigrant
Elroy Smith was born 28 years ago in Dangriga, Belize, and he is part of Belize’s national selection. He is an undisputed title holder of Club Deportivo Savio since joining the Copan based team three years ago alongside his cousin Harrison Roches, who left to play for Puerto Cortes’ Platense.
In the current tournament, the sweeper for Savio holds the second highest number of goals with seven points, same number held by Jerry Bengtson of Vida and Rony Flores of Marathon.
In this tournament, Smith has scored against the likes of Vida, Olympia, Hispano, Real Espana Real España, Vida [sic] and Necaxa (2).
[Note: Olimpia defeated Club Deportivo Savio 5 to 2 during Tuesday’s game in Tegucigalpa with Smith scoring one goal, bringing his number of goals scored to 8]
26.10.10 – Updated: 26.10.10 10:51pm – Rigoberto Andrade: firstname.lastname@example.org
Article translated by Alindy Marisol Amaya | Edited by E.J. Hill