SMITH Austin < Back  
Sport Hockey
CGA South Africa   
Gender Men
Born 20 May 1985 in Cape Town, SAF
Height1.79 m
Human Interest
Further Personal Information
Residence Netherlands
Occupation Athlete, Coach
Languages Afrikaans, English
Higher education Education - University of South Africa: Pretoria, RSA
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport? He began playing at age five in Cape Town, South Africa.
Why this sport? He played many sports including football but hockey was his favourite. His parents played competitive hockey in South Africa and England for a few years and they helped develop his love for the game. "My parents were both avid hockey players so it was just normal that every weekend we went down to the ground and watched them play and [eventually] played alongside them."
Club / Team HC Den Bosch: Netherlands
Name of coach Eric Verboom [club]; Garreth Ewing [national], RSA
Preferred position / style / stance / technique Defender
Handedness Right
International Debut
Year 2004
Competing for South Africa
Opponent Canada
Location South Africa
General Interest
Nicknames Oz, Ozzie (Athlete, 07 Oct 2010; results.gc2018.com, 15 Feb 2018)
Hobbies Gardening. (Austin Smith YouTube channel, 01 Feb 2017)
Memorable sporting achievement Captaining the South Africa Men's hockey team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. (results.gc2018.com, 15 Feb 2018)
Most influential person in career His high school hockey coach Michael McConnachie. (gc2018.com, 15 Feb 2018)
Injuries He missed the 2011 Africa Cup of Nations and a series against Argentina due to a broken hand. (austinsmith.co.za, 31 Oct 2011)
Sporting philosophy / motto "There is no substitute to hard work, never stop." (Athlete, 07 Oct 2010)
Awards and honours He was the South African Hockey Player of the Year in 2008, 2010 and 2012. (sport24.co.za, 09 Feb 2013; fih.ch, 08 Nov 2010)

He was included in the International Hockey Federation's [FIH] All-Star team in 2009. (Athlete, 07 Oct 2010)

He was Reading Hockey Club's Player of the Year in 2008. (readinghockeyclub.org.uk, 02 Feb 2010)
Famous relatives His father played hockey for England at U23 level and his mother played hockey at provincial level in South Africa. (Athlete, 07 Oct 2010; gc2018.com, 15 Feb 2018)
Other information PLAYING ABROAD
He has had stints playing in England, India and the Netherlands throughout his career. "When I was 22 and I'd just made my way into the national team, the coach said I wasn't going to be good enough to keep my place and made the recommendation that I went and played overseas. I first decided to go to England because everyone spoke English and my dad was from there originally. I went over there for four years, and after that I'd just been announced as captain of the national team so I thought, 'now would be a good moment to go and play in the Netherlands'." (Austin Smith YouTube channel, 01 Feb 2017)

LIFE AFTER HOCKEY
He studied to be a teacher at university and sees that as a potential career path once he retires from hockey. "I studied to become a teacher. I did that full-time in South Africa for two years then after that I did it through a correspondence university. I finished my last internship at the International School of Eindhoven. I'm really passionate about teaching, that's something I'd like to do in the future." (Austin Smith YouTube channel, 01 Feb 2017)

COACHING
Alongside his playing commitments, he has worked as a coach for HC Den Bosch's youth men's and women's teams. "Coaching is really rewarding. When you look at a player at the beginning of a season and how you're able to transform them, help them, encourage them and see them grow through the season is fantastic." (Austin Smith YouTube channel, 01 Feb 2017)