As far back as she could remember, Taylor Smith has always loved playing soccer.
She played a few sports, such as volleyball, but when she discovered soccer, it was love at first sight, and now Smith is rarely seen without a soccer ball, and it’s her skills on pitch that have enabled Smith to be named the Brian Allen State Farm Insurance Female Athlete of the Week.
“I’ve been playing since I was about five years old,” Smith said. “My freshman year, I played volleyball, and it was my fun sport, but soccer was my serious sport.
“My freshman year, I had a coach who saw my potential, so I started taking soccer seriously during my freshman year.”
When Smith, a team captain for the past few seasons, had her junior season cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she and the Gators were rolling.
The Gators were 3-0 and had outscored their opponents 24-2, and Smith tied for the team lead with six goals scored.
“It really hurt me,” Smith said about losing her junior season. “My junior year is very important for college recruiting. I was upset about it.”
Over the past three seasons, Smith has evolved into one of the county’s most dangerous strikers. In 38 games, she scored 33 goals and dished out 24 assists.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Smith said about fulfilling her potential.
Smith, who is looking forward to getting back on the soccer pitch this spring, said she takes her role as team captain seriously and loves that her teammates come to her for advice.
“I love the girls, and I just love our bond,” Smith said. “It’s awesome, and I love playing out there with them, I love our coaches. I just have a great time out there.”
As of now, Smith does not know where she will attend college, but she plans to major in dentistry. Like most student-athletes, Smith is attending school virtually, and she cannot wait to get back to the ‘Swamp’ and see her friends, coaches, and teachers.
Despite these challenging times, Smith has found ways to stay active and positive.
“We live out here on a lake, and I just swim sometimes, fish, and go in the boat.”