Tommy Smith has fallen victim to Covid-19's impact on British sport but is confident of securing a fresh footballing challenge.

The All Whites defender signed for English League One side Sunderland in February, but was released over the weekend with the resumption of the season still clouded in uncertainty.

In Smith's time at the club, Sunderland played just five matches before the coronavirus pandemic brought the season to a halt, meaning the 30-year-old leaves without taking the field for the Black Cats.

"It was just really bad timing and unfortunately I'd only signed a short-term deal," said Smith.


"Clubs in League One don't know when games are going ahead again so the Chairman said he wasn't going to exercise any extension which is fair enough, so I knew that was coming.

"But he also said I might be looked at again in the future once things are a bit clearer moving forward," he said.

English clubs outside the Premier League are due to meet on Monday to approve strategies for ending their seasons early if coronavirus prevents a normal conclusion. League One clubs (English football's third tier) will then vote on whether to restart their season or call it off completely.

Teams in League Two have already indicated they wish to end their season while Championship (second tier) clubs have committed to returning around June 20, about the same time the Premier League is slated to resume.

With uncertainty swirling, the business of finding another club becomes a little more problematic for Smith, who spent 11 years with Ipswich Town before joining the Colorado Rapids in January 2018.

"I can't sign for anyone else until the transfer window opens (on June 10) anyway," said Smith.

"I've had a little bit of interest both in the UK and abroad but I think clubs are holding fire on making those decisions until they know what's going to be happening, (firstly) with this season and (secondly) when next season is going to be scheduled and that isn't even clear yet.

"So I'm in limbo a bit at the moment but all I can do is keep myself fit and be ready to take the next chance wherever that may be. I've got a lot left in me yet."


Smith burst onto the New Zealand international scene a decade ago when at the age of just 20, he played every minute of all three games at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Stationed on the left side of New Zealand's back three alongside Ryan Nelsen and Winston Reid, Smith impressed as the All Whites conceded just two goals in their three outings, exiting the tournament unbeaten.

He's now played 38 times for New Zealand, has captained the side and scored winning goals in 2012 against Fiji and 2013 against New Caledonia.

Smith was part of the latest All Whites camp, the first under coach Danny Hay, playing matches against the Republic of Ireland and Lithuania in November.

"Danny is someone I look up to with what he did in his career, both playing and now coaching. It was great having that first camp under his leadership.

"It's an exciting time with lots of great young talent coming through, coupled with some really good, experienced players as well.

"Hopefully that bodes well for the future, both the 2022 World Cup and beyond."

While he waits for his next footballing challenge, Smith and wife Leanne are enjoying the English sunshine and anticipating the arrival of their first child in September.

"Our main priority is to make sure everything is safe and healthy with the pregnancy and go from there," said Smith.

"While we're settled in the UK, it would be ideal to stay here if possible.

"There's always motivation to stay as fit as you can because your career is based on you being fit and well. It's quite a challenge though when you don't know when you'll be training or playing again. You don't want to over-do your fitness work but you don't want to under-cook yourself either.

"It'll just be a case of waiting for that next opportunity and taking it with both hands when it does come along, which I'm sure it will."