By four-years-old, Texas A&M senior forward Rheagen Smith knew what she wanted to do with her life after falling in love with the game of soccer.
“I always wanted to play the game and grew a love for it,” Smith said. “I was very competitive and even used to cry if we lost games.”
Smith isn’t the only athlete in her family. Her dad is Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith, and her mom, Hope Wilson, was a track athlete and cheerleader in high school. Smith said sports were valued and highly encouraged in her house growing up.
“My father always pushed me to be the best player that I could be,” Smith said. “He always made sure that I was preparing the correct way and wanted me healthy on the inside and outside. He would make me drink Pedialyte before games, take my vitamins and encouraged me to do a lot of rolling with a foam roller.”
Smith recalled how she felt during her father’s time spent playing with the Dallas Cowboys.
“When he played in the NFL I was very young,” Smith explained. “I was maybe two or three years old when he broke the NFL rushing record, and I have seen all of his Super Bowl rings that he has won. I just remember being young and seeing all of the greatness of him and it is something that has been embedded into our family.”
As Smith got older, she said her love for the game of soccer continued to grow. When she attended Greenhill School, her talent began to make itself known.
According to 12thman.com, Smith notched 20 goals and 12 assists during the 2015-2016 season. She was named to the United States Women’s U-18 National Team roster in 2015 for training camp in San Diego and tabbed an All-Southwest Preparatory Conference selection in 2014-15 and 2015-16. She was also successful in track and field earning the 2014 and 2015 SPC All-State First Team in sprints and hurdles and even won the 4x100 relay at the state championship as a freshman in 2014.
After spending most of her childhood in Dallas, Smith said she was eager for change.
“It wasn’t until my official visit that I learned all about A&M and how different the setting was compared to Dallas, and I liked that a lot,” Smith said. “I wanted something different, and when I entered campus for the very first time, I felt like this was where I belonged. After my official visit, I missed Texas A&M and was ready to go back.”
During the 2019 season, Smith appeared in all 22 matches during the 2019 season, making three starts and racking up 730 minutes of play. As a freshman in 2017, she appeared in 17 games as a rookie, all off the bench, logging 314 minutes. Her first career goal was on her birthday in the Aggies’ SEC Tournament semifinal victory over Florida on Nov. 2. Overall, she has started in seven games and boasts 12 career points on four goals and four assists in 1,829 minutes of play.
Smith said her favorite memory as an Aggie was when she was a freshman and the team won the SEC Championship. The game holds special meaning for her and her family.
“My dad came to the semi-final game, and that was the first time I scored for A&M,” Smith said. “The game was against the University of Florida which is where my dad went to school, so it was kind of a big deal for me.”
Despite the effects of COVID-19, Smith said the team has been successful in staying healthy due to their efforts in social distancing.
“Our team is very strong right now and we all understand that it is important to be very selfless right now,” Smith said. “We are being very socially distant right now and everyone wants to work with us since none of us [are] sick.”
Smith said as a college athlete, she values being a team player and believes that is what brings forth success within a program.
“I work hard not just for myself, but for my teammates as well,” Smith said. “You cannot let anyone down because it’s a team thing and you have to hold yourself accountable. Someone can lose a ball and it’s our job to help them get it back.”
Throughout the ups and downs of her soccer career, Smith said her mom has always been her biggest supporter.
“Growing up, she has witnessed how much I love soccer and has even seen how it has hurt me,” Smith said. “She doesn’t miss a game and has helped me mentally, spiritually and emotionally. She has always encouraged me to be the best player because these moments do not last forever.”