The actor captained his school team and was signed by Leicester City before a back injury put an end to a potential career.
Former coach Jon Rudkin told The Mirror that Smith impressed the club with his strong work ethic, saying: "He was a central defender and we had high hopes for him. What struck everyone was how determined he was. He'd travel every day from Northampton. He was desperate to make it."
Smith also played for Nottingham Forest's under-13 team, and youth scheme official Mick Raynor recalled that he took to the field alongside some current England stars.
"Matt was a talented player. He was with Jermaine Jenas, Michael Dawson and Andy Reid who are all internationals now. That shows how highly we rated him," he said.