The newest episode of the Nutmeg Podcast with 610 Sports Radio host Josh Klinger featured an in-depth interview with one of Sporting Kansas City's breakout performers at the historic MLS is Back Tournament last month in Walt Disney World.
Third-year center back Graham Smith spent most of his first two professional seasons with Sporting Kansas City II at the USL Championship level. However, the 24-year-old Colorado native made an eye-catching jump in Florida by starting three matches and helping the team to consecutive shutout wins over Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
With 14 regular season appearances under his belt, Smith will now aim to help Sporting keep hold of first place in the Western Conference as league play returns to home markets later this month.
"When your opportunity comes, you want to work hard to make the most of it," Smith said. "I think for the most part I did that. The team also played really well. The big thing is not being content with the three games I played (in Florida) or with how we played as a team. In flashes we showed what this team is capable of, so now it's just about building on that.
"It's your job and your profession to be ready, even when you're not being called upon in the moment. You want to make sure you're best prepared as possible for when those opportunities do come to showcase yourself. And then you hope that leads to results for the team."
Smith went on to share stories about his college experience playing soccer at Oregon State and Denver, his jump to Major League Soccer as a 2018 MLS SuperDraft selection and his off-the-field life in Kansas City.
Listen to the full podcast below.
Previous episodes of The Nutmeg Podcast
- Episode 101: Defender Seth Sinovic (Aug. 13, 2019)
- Episode 102: Midfielder Gianluca Busio (Aug. 27, 2019)
- Episode 103: Goalkeeper Tim Melia (Sept. 10, 2019)
- Episode 104: "Kitman" Mike Flaherty (Sept. 24, 2019)
- Episode 105: Midfielder Roger Espinoza (Oct. 8, 2019)
- Episode 106: Assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin (Oct. 22, 2019)
- Episode 107: Defender Jaylin Lindsey (Nov. 5, 2019)
- Episode 108: Chief Communications Officer Rob Thomson (Nov. 19, 2019)
- Episode 109: Manager Peter Vermes - Part 1 (Dec. 3, 2019)
- Episode 110: Manager Peter Vermes - Part 2 (Dec. 17, 2019)
- Episode 111: President & CEO Jake Reid (Jan. 3, 2019)
- Episode 201: Defender Graham Zusi (Jan. 14, 2020)
- Episode 202: Goalkeeper Tim Melia and defender Cameron Duke (Jan. 29, 2020)
- Episode 203: Forward Khiry Shelton (Feb. 12, 2020)
- Episode 204: Forward Daniel Salloi (Feb. 25, 2020)
- Episode 205: Veterans Matt Besler, Roger Espinoza and Graham Zusi (March 10, 2020)
- Episode 206: Manager Peter Vermes talks COVID-19 (March 20, 2020)
- Episode 207: Forward Johnny Russell (March 26, 2020)
- Episode 208: Retired midfielder Benny Feilhaber (April 16, 2020)
- Episode 209: Midfielder and eMLS star Wan Kuzain (May 6, 2020)
- Episode 210: Retired goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen (May 19, 2020)
- Episode 211: Assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin (June 11, 2020)
- Episode 212: Midfielder Roger Espinoza (June 24, 2020)
- Episode 213: Manager Peter Vermes (July 14, 2020)