Jan. 9, 2003
ATLANTA - Atlanta Beat defender Dayna Smith today announced her retirement from the WUSA. Smith, a two-year member of the Atlanta Beat, is ending her playing career, after helping anchor the Beat defense that was the best in the WUSA in 2001 and ranked second in 2002. Smith currently has a position in sales with GE Consumer Products and is based in Los Angeles.
Smith is a 1997 graduate from Santa Clara University where she earned a Bachelors Degree in Print and Broadcast Journalism. She helped lead the Broncos to a NCAA semifinals appearance in 1996. She was named a captain of the Broncos squad in 1995 and 1996 after transferring from North Carolina State University. Smith was named Rookie of the Year at North Carolina State in 1993.
"I'm sad to see Dayna go, but I feel very fortunate to have been able to watch her develop as a player and young person," said Beat Head Coach Tom Stone. "I got to coach her over a 13 year period at almost every level from youth soccer with the Lakewood Fury to the W-League and then ultimately in the WUSA. The two years she spent with the Beat were quality ones. They were playoff years and she was a very big part of our team inside and outside of the locker room. It was especially rewarding to see her go from a 15th round pick to becoming a full season starter and helping lead our team to the inaugural Founders Cup game."
Smith played in only five games during the 2002 season, after being the only Beat player to see time in all 23 games in the previous season. She finished the 2002 season with five starts in five games and played 425 minutes. Only Sharolta Nonen, Homare Sawa and Nikki Serlenga played in all 22 games during the 2002 season for the Beat.
Early in the 2001 season Smith established herself as a knowledgeable and experienced veteran on a young back line. She helped anchor the defense that gave up the fewest goals in the WUSA in 2001 (21) and helped lead the Beat to the inaugural Founders Cup game. She finished the inaugural WUSA season playing in 21games and starting 18 during the regular season. She started and played in each of the Beat's postseason games in 2001. Smith notched two assists for two points during the 2001 season.
Prior to being drafted in the 15th round of the inaugural WUSA draft, Smith played one season with the Denver Diamonds in the W-League, under Beat Head Coach Tom Stone. Before her stint with the Diamonds, Smith played overseas for Yomiuri Beleza in the Japanese L-League in 1997 and 1998. Smith was named the L-League's defensive MVP in 1998. She then moved on to play in Stockholm, Sweden, for Hammerby Soccer Club. Smith helped lead Hammerby to the Elite League Championship game.