Orlando City announced today that defender Kyle Smith has signed a new two-year contract with a club option for a third in 2023. Smith had his option year picked up at the end of the 2020 season, so he was already under contract for 2021, but the club has given the Cincinnati, OH native a new deal for 2021 and 2022, with the opportunity to keep him through 2023.
“We’re very excited to keep a player as tenacious and versatile as Kyle around for another few years,” Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “Continuing to solidify the future of our defense has been a priority this year and Kyle has shown himself ready to do whatever is needed of him. ‘El Soldado’, as Oscar [Pareja] calls him, is always ready for war.”
The 29-year-old signed with Orlando City on Dec. 19, 2018, along with his former Louisville City teammate, goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh. In his two seasons with Orlando, Smith has appeared in 39 regular-season games (26 starts) and two playoff matches (both starts). He has yet to score a goal but has one regular-season assist. He appeared off the bench in all four of Orlando’s MLS is Back knockout matches in 2020 as well, notably converting his penalty in the shootout against LAFC.
For his grit, versatility, and overall contributions to the club, Smith earned a composite rating of 6 out of 10 in our 2020 Season in Review player ratings.
What It Means for Orlando City
Overall this doesn’t change things too much for the Lions in the short term. Smith was already under contract for 2021. What this new deal does is provide some stability for the next year or two. Smith is the type of player ever MLS roster needs. He can plug into multiple positions, is willing to do whatever is asked of him, and typically doesn’t make the big mistake. Although we don’t have his salary numbers, he’s likely to be easy on Orlando City’s budget as well.
With the pandemic-fueled fixture congestion of 2020 continuing into 2021, as well as Joao Moutinho’s ongoing recovery from hip surgery, Smith will likely log a lot of minutes this season. Having his contract status settled beyond the end of the current season will give him one less thing to worry about and allow him to concentrate on the task at hand.