FAIRFIELD — Jai’Den Smith has big dreams, a number of which have to do with football.
The sixth-grader at B. Gale Wilson Elementary School would like to one day play for national powerhouse De La Salle High of Concord, then move on to the University of Oregon and eventually land with the San Francisco 49ers.
Though he’s only 10, Smith is on the right path. Outstanding showings in camps at Davis, where he was selected MVP, and then Los Angeles earned him Offense-Defense Youth All-American honors and a spot on Team USA.
With all that comes a chance to participate in the Offense-Defense Youth All-American Bowl – an all-star game – at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla. Activities run from Dec. 30 to Jan. 4.
“He loves the game, he loves everything about it,” said Jim Smith, Jai-Den’s dad and an assistant coach for his undefeated Solano Warriors Cadet Division team. “It doesn’t have to be a game. The training part of it, he loves it.”
Jai’Den plays middle linebacker and running back for the Warriors and excels at both.
“His passion is defense,” Jim Smith said. “We had to talk him into (playing) running back. Last year he had 15 touchdowns at running back. He missed three games and still did very good.”
“I like (running back), too, but I like defense a little better,” Jai’Den said.
What he likes best about football is simply “smacking people, running people over,” he said.
His mother, Jacqueline Williams, can bear witness.
“I know he loves football because he likes to practice on me,” she said with a chuckle.
Having the opportunity to go to Florida, if the family can raise the necessary funds, “feels great,” Jai’Den said.
“It means everything,” added JIm Smith. “This is his dream. That’s why I’m trying so hard to make it happen.”
Williams agreed. “He is so ready,” she said. “He actually loves what he’s doing. This is his fourth year. He was homecoming king that (first) year. From that year he’s trained hard.
“He’s really into it. We try to stay behind him and support him him all the way.”
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.