RIP – Steve Smith – 1984-2017

Days after playing in the Philippine American Football League National Championship game for the Manila Wolves in February, beloved supporter of football in the Philippines, and player Steve Smith died suddenly in the Philippines.

The 32 year old Smith from Dayton, Ohio had become an inspiration to the football community in the Philippines, not only for his play on the field but also for his upbeat approach and unwavering goodwill to all around him. He was a key in the development of the game in the Philippines over the past five years.

Teammate and current head coach of the Warsaw Sharks in Poland, Luke Zetazate:

“Steve Smith was the heart beat of the Wolves. He was a force on the field but most importantly a intense leader that inspired everyone. Steve had that big smile that would light up the whole locker room. Steve was a family man to his Wife and kids and the big brother of the Wolves. He was a trailblazer for American Football in the Phillipines with the Phillipine Punishers and Aguilas. The world lost a great one.”

Ivan Klaric, who has played for both the Novi Sad Dukes and Vukovi Belgrade in Serbia had known Smith for many years, and coached and played with him on the Wolves:

“Steve was everything you wanted in a teammate. he got us fired up before every game and played with great passion. But he was also the guy who could lighten up the mood during those long practices. He would run suicides and crack jokes at the same time. I could go on for a long time listing his virtues. What speaks the most about him is that everyone on our team and also on other teams considered him their friend.”

Steve is survived by his wife and three sons as well as his father and sister and brother. A memorial service will be held in Manila Sunday, March 12. Memorial services were held in Dayton, Ohio last weekend.

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.