After suicide attempt, Taylor Smith finds long-term home with Gotham

HARRISON, NJ - JULY 02: Taylor Smith (20) of NJ/NY Gotham FC shoots during the second half of the National Womens Soccer League game between NJ/NY Gotham FC and the Chicago Red Stars on July 2, 2022 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Taylor Smith felt helpless.

In a short period of time, the soccer star suffered an ACL tear, was cut from the U.S. women’s national team and went through a break-up.

Smith joined Snacks co-hosts Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams on Snacks for Mental Health Day last week to chronicle that period of her life and her ongoing battle with depression in hopes of helping others who find themselves in similar situations.

“Anything that could go wrong went so wrong,” she told them. “I had such a hard time coping with it. When I was in it I felt so frustrated, but now I look back and see that I needed to have more empathy for myself.

“I genuinely felt that there was nothing in this world that was going to make me happy.”

Eventually, Smith felt that she couldn’t cope anymore. The trauma and mental health issues she’d battled since childhood took over her mind, and Smith attempted to take her own life.

Smith ended up in the hospital and continued to struggle with suicidal thoughts. And while they haven’t gone away completely, through therapy, Smith has learned how to cope with the depression that’s controlled her for so long.

“I felt like I was in survival mode for 25 years,” the 28-year-old forward said. “It was just exhausting, and you can’t thrive when you are in that state of mind.”

These days, Smith is thriving. She’s learned to take time for herself and carve out a routine that brings her joy. She loves walking her dogs, journaling and chatting with friends. When Smith was deep in her depression, she says that she neglected her relationships.

“You can only treat people as good as you feel,” she said.

Now, she feels good, and because of that, Smith has been able to pour more energy into her relationships with her friends and with herself.

“I wasn’t healthy so I didn’t want to open up and be vulnerable,” she said. “My coping mechanism was to isolate and be super self-sufficient.”

As Smith has learned to open up, she’s also found peace on the soccer field once more. After being cut by the USWNT, Smith was in what she calls “a bad situation” with the North Carolina Courage, a team coached by Paul Riley despite his firing from the Portland Thorns following an investigation into abusive conduct.

Now, she’s found a home for the next three seasons.

Gotham FC announced on Monday that it had re-signed Smith to a three-year contract, keeping her in New York/New Jersey through the 2025 season. Acquired off of waivers in June, Smith went on to play 18 games for Gotham, recording two goals and one assist in 15 starts.

“From the first day I arrived this summer, I’ve enjoyed every second of being a part of Gotham FC,” Smith said in a press release. “I feel valued here and cannot wait to continue to make a positive impact. I wholeheartedly believe we will build off our last performance and make everyone proud next year. The team, the fans, the city and community are second to none, and I feel so honored to be able to call this home the next three years.”