CINCINNATI – FC Cincinnati has signed defender Blake Smith ahead of the club’s debut season in Major League Soccer. Smith, 27, will be returning to MLS, where he played with the Montreal Impact from 2013-14.
As a United States citizen, Smith will occupy a domestic roster spot on Cincinnati’s 2019 MLS roster.
“I’m very excited. It’s been a long journey to get back to MLS, but I have always had confidence in my abilities,” Smith said. “Fortunately, my move to Cincinnati has been a great experience thus far. The coaches believe in me enough to make the jump to the next level, so I’m very excited.”
Smith signed with FC Cincinnati on Feb. 5, 2018. In his lone season with the Orange and Blue at the USL level, he made 30 appearances at left back, including 28 starts, scored one goal and added four assists.
“I think Blake really showed his character with us last year,” Koch said. “There were a number of times when other players were fighting for his position and he never gave that position up. We saw tremendous growth in Blake’s influence on the team as the season went along. I’m incredibly proud to take him along on this journey with us."
Smith was a fixture on the FC Cincinnati backline in 2018, featuring in every game in which he was available. He scored FCC’s first goal of the season, the game-winning goal at the Charleston Battery on March 17. The Boerne, Texas, native ranked first among all FCC defenders with four assists on the year.
Smith’s professional career began in 2013 when he was drafted by the Montreal Impact in the first round, eighth overall, of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft out of New Mexico. In 2013, he made a combined 18 appearances for the Impact, scoring two goals and added an assist. The following year, he split time between the Impact and the NASL’s Indy Eleven, where he made a combined 16 appearances, including 10 starts. He scored twice and added an assist over the course of his nine matches with Indy. In 2015, the defender joined Swiss side Yverdon-Sport FC. Smith made 14 appearances, including 13 starts, and tallied four goals during the season.
Smith returned to the United States when he signed with the NASL’s Miami FC at the conclusion of the 2015 NASL season. In 2016, he made 30 appearances, including 24 starts, and added five assists during the NASL’s Spring and Fall Seasons. In 2017, he made 25 appearances, including 21 starts, scored one goal and added five assists.
The next time Cincinnati takes the field, it will be as MLS’ 24th team in 2019 when the club debuts in the top professional league in the U.S. and Canada. Season tickets for the 2019 season are now on sale at fccincinnati.com/tickets.
For up-to-the-minute information about FC Cincinnati, visit the team’s official website at fccincinnati.com, or follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FCCincinnati. For more information about FC Cincinnati tickets - including 2019 season tickets - call 513-977-KICK (5425) or visit fccincinnati.com/tickets.
Transaction: FC Cincinnati signed D Blake Smith as a free agent on Dec. 10, 2018.
Jersey Number: 23
Birthdate: January 17, 1991
Birthplace: El Paso, Texas
Hometown: Boerne, Texas
Last Club: FC Cincinnati (USL)
Nationality: United States
MLS Roster Status: Domestic Player
How Acquired: Signed as a free agent on Dec. 10, 2018