After five seasons of professional soccer in Norway and 37 caps for the Republic of Ireland, Shannon Smyth is home again.
The Mequon native has joined North Shore United as the Technical Director for the U11 to 14 age groups. She will begin formally on June 1 and will be head coach of multiple teams in addition to leading the development of male and female players in that formative age range.
“Most exciting for me, is to coach teams and be able to oversee the 11s to 14s program; honestly it’s my favorite age group,” Smith said. “Because it’s such vivid improvement. They’re like sponges at that age.”
Smyth starred at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School and then at the University of Louisville. After she completed her college eligibility she played professional overseas, the last five seasons for Amazon Grimstad FK. Meanwhile, dual citizenship allowed her to be considered for the Republic of Ireland women’s national team. Smyth played in both FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying matches and UEFA Women’s Championship qualifiers.
Not satisfied just with playing, Smyth also launched an academy program for girls under the Amazon Grimstad banner. It began with basically a “mini-kickers” program, she said, and now has added U12s, U14s, U16s and a reserve team. There, Smyth said, she could experiment with different things.
“I got my little utopia,” she said.
She holds a USSF “B” coaching license, and been a coaching course instructor and ODP coach since returning to the United States in November. Smyth said she’s been looking for the right opportunity in the game and, even though she looked all over the country, preferred to stay close to home.
“My interview with (Joe Hammes, NSU director of coaching) should have been one hour, and it turned into three,” Smyth said. “We’re very much on the same page.”
Hammes said Smyth will be a tremendous addition to the NSU staff.
“Shannon brings everything you could want in a youth coach,” Hammes said. “She’s played domestically and internationally, she’s already experienced in building a youth program and is young enough to still remember what it’s like to be a developing player. We’re so excited to have Shannon join the North Shore United staff.”
With Smyth focusing on the 11-14 age group, Sinisa Angelovski becomes the Youth Technical Director for the 15-18 age group.