The junior forward was picked as the soccer team captain in her sophomore year, an accomplishment virtually unheard of.
Taylor Teal never had to look far for a practice partner.
All she needed was her dad.
Teal is a junior forward on the Philadelphia Academy Charter soccer team, and this year she’ll be in her third year as a starter. She’s played the sport since she was 3 years old, and whenever she’s out there, she’s getting advice from her dad, Larry, a former Cardinal Dougherty and Cabrini star who is now the head coach of the Philadelphia Academy Charter boys soccer team.
“I didn’t play for him when I first started, but a few years later, he started coaching me,” Teal said. “He’s a great coach, he expects a lot, and he was hardest on me, but he did that because he knows I need it. He helped me get better.”
While some of it was coaching, both through her dad and other teachers, Teal’s skill and dedication to the game have brought her a long way.
She was named to the All-Public team as a freshman. Last year, she didn’t walk away with league honors, but she did have a strong year in other ways. That means she has higher expectations headed into her junior year.
“Last year, we had a good team and most of the girls are back,” said Teal, who will likely see time at many positions but predominately play striker. “We expect to be good, and we’re working together.”
Teal is ready to do her part.
A forward by trade, she has seen time at just about every position there is.
“When I was younger, I think because they needed someone, I was a backup goalie,” Teal said. “I wasn’t really good, but my dad needed a player.
“I like playing everywhere. For my high school team, they usually use me at forward, but for my club teams, I played midfield. I like playing everywhere, it doesn’t matter to me where I play. As long as we’re playing well.”
Last year, she was more than just a talented player for Philadelphia Academy Charter.
She was picked as a team captain as a sophomore, which is virtually unheard of. It was an honor she took very seriously and she made sure to work with her teammates to get better in the role.
“I was really surprised when they picked me, it was a huge honor because they usually pick seniors,” Teal said. “We haven’t picked captains yet for this year, so I’m not sure if I’ll be one again, but I tried really hard to be a good leader and help everyone.
“You need good captains. We had players who were good but didn’t play a lot before, so I always tried to help them. I didn’t need to do a lot, but I did try and help them. It was a great experience to be a captain.”
It was especially rewarding for Teal because of how much she loves the sport.
Ever since she was a little girl, soccer has been her sport. She’s also played competitive softball, and is a star for the Chargers in that sport, too.
While some kids have to be directed into the world of sports, that was never the case for Teal.
“I didn’t start liking girly things until a few years ago,” Teal said. “Now I go to the mall and hang out with my friends, but when I was younger, all I wanted to do was play sports. I still love playing sports.”
She approaches schoolwork the same way.
Teal is a member of the school’s National Honor Society, and she’s starting to think about what she wants to do when she graduates from Philadelphia Academy Charter.
It should be little surprise that once again, she could follow in her dad’s footsteps.
“I love working with kids, and I’ve been thinking about becoming a teacher,” said Teal, who considers English her favorite subject. “I’m also thinking about going into physical therapy. I know I want to do something in sports because I love it. I still have time. I want to see if any schools offer me a chance to play (college) soccer.”
No matter what career path she chooses, she’ll likely get a whistle once her playing days are complete.
She’s already had a chance to hone her skills as a skipper
“I would definitely want to coach,” Teal said. “I did some camps for special-needs kids, and I loved doing that. I’ve done some other camps for kids, too. I love teaching the kids and playing with them.”
That’s not the only way she’s been working with kids.
Because of her ambitious schedule with soccer, Teal is unable to have a regular job, but she does spend time looking after youngsters.
“Babysitting works out great because I can’t work other jobs because of how my schedule is,” the Fox Chase native said. “It’s perfect because I like hanging out with the kids. I do it for my neighbors and my cousin.”
If she has her way, she’ll be unable to work for a while. She hopes she’s busy making a deep run into the playoffs.
“We want to go as far as we can,” Teal said. “I’m hoping to get All-Public again. I was second team as a freshman and I want to get it again this year. Hopefully, first team.”
That would make dad very proud. ••