Competitive Hunger Keys Taylor's Success

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By Jeff Bell

Lindsay Taylor knows what it's like to have success playing soccer. In 2006, she was invited to play with the U-17 U.S. national team. As a freshman at Stanford University, she led the Pac-10 in goals with 16 and was named freshman of the year in the conference. She currently sits eighth on Stanford's all-time scoring list. But it's her passion for the game that stands tall next to the long list of accolades.

Said Taylor simply, "I love soccer."

Born into a family filled with athletes, Taylor developed her competitiveness at a young age. Her father played football at Maryland and her older brother Jon was a swimmer at Yale.

"We're all pretty competitive, so I think it definitely helps that I've grown up with two brothers," said Taylor, whose younger sibling Matthew is a freshman on the Stanford men's soccer team.

As a young girl with energy to spare, Taylor began playing basketball in sixth grade and even joined the golf team for her senior year at Castilleja School in Palo Alto. She also spent time doing volunteer work for the local Boys and Girls Club, something Taylor said she definitely wants to continue.

Taylor is currently majoring in science, technology, and society, but hopes to continue playing soccer at the professional level after graduation. She already has the experience of playing at the national level, which helped her develop expectations for herself.

"It showed me what it's like to play at a high level," said Taylor.

Despite the numerous awards she received after her freshman season with the Cardinal, Taylor still called it a "learning experience."

"Coming to a whole new team, you don't really know what to expect," said Taylor. "The girls around me were really great in showing me what I needed to do so that really helped the process.

Now a senior, Taylor said that team chemistry is better than ever, with the entire senior class living together. She also knows that the responsibility of being a leader falls on her shoulders, and it's a role she is happy to embrace.

The Cardinal ended last season with a loss in the national championship game to Notre Dame, and a rematch is scheduled for this Friday at 7:30 p.m. PT. For Taylor and her teammates, these are the games they used to dream about.

"I think that's the game we're all really excited for, especially the returning players, but even the freshman too," said Taylor, adding that last year's loss definitely makes this game stand out.

While nerves may affect some players in big games, Taylor finds that marquee match-ups against top competition are really what get her fired up to play the game she loves.

"I definitely love big games and tournament games," said Taylor. "I think any competitor loves playing in the big games on the big stages."

As one of the Pac-12's premier athletes, Taylor continues to rely on support and guidance from her parents as she heads into her final season with the Cardinal. As the two most influential figures in her life, Taylor's parents never forced her to play any sport in particular. When she fell in love with soccer, they gave her the support she needed to become so successful.

In the end, it's her passion and hunger for the game that ultimately sets Taylor apart from much of the competition.

"I just really enjoy going out and practicing and getting better each and every day," she said. "Getting back to the national championship game is definitely something that drives me."

Regardless of what path she chooses in life, it doesn't appear that Taylor will quit playing soccer anytime soon.

"At the end of the day, I just love soccer."