One of the first New Jersey-bred players to earn all star acclaim in the North American Soccer league, Bob used the lessons he learned on the soccer fields around Trenton in the 1950’ and ‘60s to enjoy a super successful international career with one of the world’s most famous teams – The Cosmos.
A high school All-American at Steiner High and later at Rider College, Bob was a first round draft pick of the Philadelphia Atoms in 1972, helping that new NASL team become the first expansion franchise in the history of U.S. sports to win a championship in its inaugural year.
After earning all-star honors with the Atoms he was traded to the Cosmos two years later and soon was playing alongside soccer legends Pele, Carlos Alberto, Frank Beckenbauer, and Giorgio Chinaglia on the most famous soccer team in the world.
“Smitty” was twice named an NASL all-star after excelling on the back line for the Cosmos from 1976 through 1979. He was part of the Cosmos teams that toured the world during the late 1970’s, playing throughout Europe, Asia and South America.
During the 1970’ and ‘80s Bob played for the U.S. men’s National Team as well as the U.S. Olympic Team in CONCACAF qualifying matches. One of his fondest memories was playing for the U.S. when it defeated Poland in New Britian, Conn. In 1975. He also played for the Cosmos in the 1976 Bicentennial Cup against England and Italy and played in the historic Pele Farewell Game at Giants stadium in 1977 when the world’s greatest player ever performed one half for the Cosmos and one half for his original team – Santos of Brazil.
After wrapping up his pro career in the early ‘80s, Bob returned to his soccer roots in New Jersey where he played and his Smitty’s Kicks teams that dominated the Mercer County Men’s League and won three N.J. Soccer Association Over-30 State Cup titles. Twice they reached the Region I semifinals.
A 1996 inductee to the Mercer County Soccer Hall of Fame, Bob was a standout defender on championship German American Kicker teams prior to joining the Atoms. He also joined six other future NASL players on the Trenton Extension teams that won indoor tournaments during the winter in Elizabeth, Paterson and Newark.
Bob, his wife Claudia and their four children live in the suburban Trenton area (Hamilton Square) where he coached youth players on the N.J. Olympic Development Program. He has also operated the Bob Smith Soccer Camps in the Mercer County area for the past 15 years.