Jayda “Jay” Smith is a talented soccer player and a student at The Sharks Academy, with a burning passion for the game and a deep-rooted desire to succeed. Her journey is an embodiment of chasing dreams with passion and perseverance.
Jay’s love for soccer began at an early age while playing with her friends in her hometown of Eastwood in KwaZulu-Natal. Their afternoons were filled with various sports activities, from running and using their hands and feet to playing with crates and exploring sugar cane fields. The camaraderie and joy they experienced forged lasting bonds among them. However, Jay also experienced the heartache of losing her best friend, a moment that etched a profound impact on her life.
Growing up as the only child with her mother and grandmother, Jay cherished her close-knit family. The arrival of her younger sister brought even more joy and strengthened their bond. It was during her preschool days that a PE Teacher, Coach Daniel, introduced her to soccer. From that moment, Jay knew that her future lay in the world of sports. Her passion for the game grew stronger with each passing year, and she never wavered in her determination to become a professional soccer player.
While attending Carter High School, Jay continued to nurture her soccer skills, fuelled by the dream of turning her passion into a career. Her dedication to the sport caught the attention of Coach Daniel, who introduced her to The Sharks Academy. This pivotal moment marked the beginning of a new chapter in Jay’s journey.
At The Sharks Academy, Jay has been honing her skills and she said that the journey hasn’t been without its challenges. She said, “Balancing academic responsibilities, rigorous training sessions, club commitments, and coaching has demanded resilience and strong time management skills. Despite these obstacles, I remain focussed and dedicated to my goals, consistently striving to be the best version of myself.”
Looking toward the future, she aspires to become a professional soccer player or a Sports Coordinator at a high school, where she can impart her knowledge and passion for the game to young athletes.
Throughout her journey, Jay draws inspiration from her role model, Cristiano Ronaldo, recognising the determination and work ethic that have propelled the legendary soccer player to great heights. “I believe that to excel as an athlete, one must remain focussed, set targets, and constantly push oneself forward,” she said. She also acknowledges the importance of building character, aiming for excellence, and never settling for anything less than the best.
In addition to her sporting endeavours, Jay is passionate about coaching and teaching. She recognises the challenges that youth face in today’s society, such as drug abuse and increasing rates of teenage pregnancy and aims to make a positive impact by guiding and inspiring the younger generation.
She expresses her heartfelt appreciation to the organisation and eagerly anticipates the future collaborations and opportunities it may bring. To aspiring youth who share her dream of achieving success in their chosen careers, Jay emphasises the importance of perseverance, resilience, and self-belief. She urges them never to give up, reminding them that they are the masters of their destiny and that success awaits those who persistently pursue their dreams.