Derek Smethurst

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Derek Smethurst
Personal information
Date of birth (1947-10-24) 24 October 1947 (age 69)
Place of birth Durban, South Africa
Playing position Forward
Youth career
Berea Park
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1966 Addington 4 (6)
1967–1968 Durban City F.C. 37 (14)
1968–1971 Chelsea 18 (5)
1971–1975 Millwall 71 (9)
1975–1978 Tampa Bay Rowdies 65 (57)
1978 San Diego Sockers 17 (2)
1979–1980 Seattle Sounders 30 (14)
1980–1981 Seattle Sounders (indoor) 11 (5)
1981–1982 Memphis Americans (indoor) 33 (35)
1982 Carolina Lightnin' 6 (0)
1986–1987 Tampa Bay Rowdies (indoor)
Total 292 (147)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Derek Smethurst (born 24 October 1947 in Durban) is a retired South African soccer forward who played professionally in South Africa, England and the United States.


Born into a sporting family, both his father Norman and brother Peter played professionally. Smethurst spent time with three amateur teams, Glenwood, Berea Park and Addington, in his early career. He began his professional career with Durban City F.C.[1] In December 1968, he transferred to Chelsea F.C. He spent the remainder of the 1968–1969 and the entire 1969–1970 season with the Chelsea Reserves. Despite missing a large part of the 1969–1970 season with an injury, Smethurst still compiled 20 goals in 42 games with the reserves. He made his first team debut on 1 September 1970. Smethurst was the first South African to win a European championship when Chelsea won the 1970–71 European Cup Winners' Cup. He was the first foreign born player to win a European championship in England. Two games into the 1971–1972 season, Chelsea transferred Smethurst to Millwall F.C. for £35,000 at his request. He spent four seasons with Millwall. In 1975, Smethurst moved to the United States where he played for the newly established Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League, where he became their all-time leading goal scorer with 57 goals in 65 games and a NASL all star. He was the captain of the Rowdies' 1976 indoor championship team.[2] In 1978, he began the season with Tampa Bay, but in May 1978 at his own request, he was traded to the San Diego Sockers in exchange for Peter Andersen.[3] He led the Tampa Bay Rowdies in goals scored for the three years he played with them. The Sockers traded him in July 1978.[4] In 1979, he signed with the Seattle Sounders. He spent two outdoor and one NASL indoor seasons with the Sounders before moving to the Memphis Americans for the 1981–1982 Major Indoor Soccer League season. He scored a hat-trick for the Sounders in a home game against the Portland Timbers on 30 June 1979. Smethurst scored 75 goals in just over 100 games in the NASL. In the spring of 1982, he joined the Carolina Lightnin' of the American Soccer League, and after six games retired from outdoor football.[5] He rejoined the Rowdies for the 1986–87 AISA season, appearing in a few home matches only.[6] Smethurst's goal scoring rate in professional first team football was a goal for every 1.85 games. Played in the "First" English League game to be played on a Sunday for Millwall v Fulham, 20 January 1974.

He also played in the 1977 NFL pre-season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a placekicker wearing jersey #12.[7][8][9][10]

Now an accomplished author and sports consultant, Smethurst lives in Valrico, Florida, and runs a professional soccer training academy.


  • First African national to win a European Championship
  • First South African to win a European Championship
  • First foreign born player to win a European Championship in England
  • First foreign player to score for Chelsea in a European Championship
  • First foreign player to win a European Championship with Chelsea F.C.
  • First foreign player to play in a European Championship Final for Chelsea
  • First player to score 4 goals in one game for the Tampa Bay Rowdies – NASL
  • First Seattle Sounder to score 3 goals in one game – NASL
  • First Seattle Sounder to score 4 goals in one game – NASL
  • First and only South African to score 3 goals in a Currie Cup Final in South Africa.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Smethurst To Captain Rowdies". Retrieved 15 September 2016. 
  3. ^ "Minnesota Gets its Kicks by Beating Rowdies". Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "Marsh: Rowdie Rambles". Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "Slickers Host To Carolina Problems Plague Defending ASL Champs" The Daily Oklahoman Friday, 11 June 1982
  6. ^
  7. ^ Sarasota Herald-Tribune.,193847. Retrieved 8 October 2014 – via Google News Archive Search.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ St. Petersburg Times.,3222815. Retrieved 8 October 2014 – via Google News Archive Search.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "TAMPA BAY ROWDIES APPRECIATION BLOG". Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  10. ^ "Smethurst". Retrieved 8 October 2014. 

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