By Joe Brewin
Kelly Smith insists Arsenal will always be her club even though she spent three years in the United States with Boston Breakers.
The England star left her home country in 2009 for a second time but rejoined the Gunners in March of this year after the disbandment of Women’s Professional Soccer in America.
Smith admitted she took a tough decision to leave Arsenal Ladies for the second time three years ago but says it was an opportunity she could not turn down.
“I am Arsenal through and through,” Smith told Arsenal.com. “I left on a professional basis simply to be a professional athlete, which hasn't happened in England.
“I was sad to go but I am obviously delighted to be back because this is the club I have supported since I was a kid. I am really close with Vic Akers and some of the other girls on the team, so it feels like I have never really left.
“I had a great three years being a professional athlete. You could just focus on your football to pay the bills, there was no other job you had to do. I loved the girls there, the lifestyle, the weather, but it is back to business in England now and there is a lot to play for in the Women's Super League, the Olympics and the Euros next year.”
Smith admits the Arsenal set-up has changed during her three years away, but the 33-year-old believes the current blend of youth and experience is a winning formula for Laura Harvey’s side.
“It has changed slightly, there are obviously a few more youngsters and some new additions,” she said. “It is a good mixture of youth and experience, which is a good thing because the youngsters can push for places now. They can learn from us, they are full of energy in training and it can only be a good thing.”
You can follow Kelly on Twitter at @kjs8eng.Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source