Back in soccer saddle

AMBER CRAIG -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:24 AM ET

Conrad Smith has left his World Cup disappointment behind to start anew in the Stampede City.

The 25-year-old striker was released by his national Trinidad and Tobago club two months before last year's FIFA World Cup and now he's back in Calgary.

"For the final phase, some new coaches came in and I wasn't part of the new plan," he said.

Rather than giving up, Smith is back in Canada -- where he starred with the A-League Mustangs in 2004 -- in hopes of making his national team for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"Basically I'm trying to use this as a stepping stone for my future," said Smith.

He's among 21 collegiate and pro players who comprise Calgary United FC, one of four clubs in the fledgling Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League.

"I love Calgary, if there's professional soccer here I'd love to stay here," said Smith, whose squad takes on the Edmonton Drillers in a showcase game Saturday at the Corral.

The league -- which also includes teams in Winnipeg and Saskatoon -- hopes to generate enough interest with these showcase games to launch a full schedule of matches in 2008 and expand to six other markets in 2009.

Smith would love to see bigger crowds than the 500 or so diehards who watched the 'Stangs play at the 35,000-seat McMahon Stadium during their first and only season.

"We just want the fans to come out and support the game, support us, and make some noise," said Smith.


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