The University of Northern British Columbia Women’s Soccer team has added a dose of composure, skill, and control to its backline, officially announcing the commitment of defender Madison Taylor for the 2020-2021 Canada West season.
“I chose the Timberwolves because of the family dynamic I instantly felt the first time I stepped on the field with those girls. They were super welcoming and willing to answer any questions I had. I also like that UNBC is a smaller university, with smaller classroom sizes, and they have the programs I am interested in.”
Taylor, a native of Burnaby, B.C., visited the UNBC campus in Prince George twice over the past year. She was able to practice with the Timberwolves, tour the Northern Sport Centre and campus facilities, and train under TWolves head coach Neil Sedgwick.
“Everyone speaks highly of him. Although winning is amazing, it doesn’t seem to be the only thing that matters to him. He really wants his players to develop and learn new things. He also seems to care about his players. In the past two years, I have had a few injuries, and he has always taken the time to reach out to me and see how I am feeling.”
Training with TSS FC under coach Brendan Quarry, Taylor established herself as a technically sound, intelligent fullback / centre back for a talented U18 Rovers program. A veteran of the BCSPL league, she served as captain at that level, and is confident her maturity and abilities will translate to the U SPORTS level.
“I am a very technical player. I have always been recognized by my coaches for how well I can control and manipulate the ball. I can read the field and visualize the field really well. I am calm, composed, and commanding in the backline.”
The goal of playing at the highest university level in the country became a focus for Taylor when she was competing at the U14 level. On top of her TSS FC training, the five-foot-seven defender committed herself to improvement, making this announcement that much more satisfying.
“I worked heavily on my fitness, and in addition to my HPL practices, I did private training sessions. It took a lot sacrifice, dedication, and commitment. But to have this opportunity now, it was all worth it.”
With Taylor’s visits to UNBC coming nearly a year apart, Sedgwick was able to track her development as a player. He says his newest recruit improved substantially, which speaks to her commitment as a player.
“That is what’s great about recruiting based on growth, rather than the single snapshot of where a prospect is at the moment you see them. We have been able to watch Madi grow from one year to the next. She projects to continue to improve, and has the makings of a player who will contribute to our program, which is very exciting. Players like Madison, who demonstrate the growth between camps or tournaments, show us that the game is meaningful and they are focused on taking the right steps to become a university player. I am thrilled to add her to our program.”
The 18-year-old was a multi-sport athlete growing up, competing in volleyball and box lacrosse. She started playing soccer at age five, and says the game has brought her joy and purpose ever since.
“I have always had the drive to get better and the desire to be on the field. The first time I touched the ball, I instantly fell in love with it. Growing up, I played a lot of sports, but soccer was the constant in my life. It is where my passion is. Rain or shine, I want to be on that field, and I want to be playing with that ball.”
Taylor is an honour roll student and is set to graduate from Burnaby Central Secondary School. At UNBC, she intends to pursue a Bachelor of Science, majoring in psychology, before eventually pursuing law. On the pitch, she acknowledges an adjustment period in acclimating herself to the Canada West level, but it’s a challenge she is ready for.
“I expect there to be a jump in speed and physicality. I am super excited to be playing with like-minded players who want to get better and have the drive to improve. I am excited to learn under Neil and to continue to grow as both a person and a player.”