Taylor Iarosis shows fight on, off field

Taylor Iarosis hopes to play soccer and softball for Little Flower in the spring. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Taylor Iarosis didn’t get to play soccer this fall. But that doesn’t mean she wasn’t able to get some kicks in.

Iarosis is a senior at Little Flower High School, and in the fall when the Catholic League decided to participate in sports, the Sentinels opted to sit the season out. That doesn’t mean Iarosis, a Fox Chase resident, won’t get a senior season. The plan is to play it in the spring, and that works out great, in her opinion.

“I did want to play, but when we found out nobody knew how many games we’d play and some teams only played a few, so when we found that out, I was happy we are waiting,” said Iarosis, who plays goalkeeper for Little Flower. “I really hope we get a chance to play. It was hard when everyone was playing, but now that we saw what happened, it’s good we still have a chance to play.”

Iarosis wasn’t stopping other teams from scoring, but that doesn’t mean she was inactive.

Soccer is her main sport and she’s also a quality softball player. Iarosis joined karate when she was 6 and became a black belt at 11. She quit karate after securing the top prize, but quickly took up kickboxing and has been doing it ever since.

“Karate is very expensive, so after I got my black belt, I stopped doing it, but then I joined kickboxing and I’ve been doing it about two or three times a week,” Iarosis said. “It’s good because the same person I had as a Sensei, she moved to kickboxing, too, so I joined her. We’re close, sometimes I’ll watch her kids.

“Kickboxing has definitely helped soccer. It’s not technically fighting, it’s more practice, I don’t do competition. I go up against my Sensei, she’ll use the mitts, it’s not one person fighting another. But it’s great, it’s definitely stress relieving. Whenever I’m angry or upset, I go to the gym and punch the bag. It definitely helps.”

It also helps her be a better competitor in sports.

Attaining a black belt is no easy task. Few stick with the sport long enough to earn it, and it takes great skill and discipline to get it.

According to Iarosis, it wasn’t easy, but it was well worth it.

“It’s a lot of effort and even though I got it at 11, it’s still one of my proudest achievements,” Iarosis said. “People are impressed. It was hard. It definitely helped me in other sports. I think the biggest thing it taught me was respect. Self defense and respect. It’s not about the fighting, it’s about respect. And it’s helped me in other sports, more just teaching you what hard work you have to put in. Don’t quit, just keep working hard.”

That’s what she hopes to do this spring when Little Flower starts soccer.

It could be a hectic season. She plans on doing both softball and soccer, though if she had to pick one, she’d stick with goalie over third base.

“They said we’re going to be able to do both, one week one sport, then the other sport,” said Iarosis, who led the Sentinels to a 7-3 record in her junior year. “We had a good season last year, we just could never beat Ryan. We hope we have a good year this year. We won’t play a lot of the Catholic League teams, so that’s hard, but we will have games and we’ll all be playing together, so that’s good.”

Iarosis is looking forward to getting back outside with her team, but she’s currently playing in an indoor league with her squad so they’ll be ready for the start of the season.

It could be the end of her final year playing organized soccer. Or not.

She’s unsure of what she’ll do next year. Her options are either going to college in the South to pursue a passion, or stay local and possibly continue her soccer career.

Either way, she’ll be happy.

“I’m going to visit schools in South Carolina and Florida soon because I would like to study marine biology, and if I do that, I won’t play soccer,” Iarosis said. “I love science, I’ve always loved the ocean, my favorite animals are dolphins and I like whales, so I would like to save them.

“The schools I’m looking at for (marine biology) have Division I soccer programs, so I won’t play there, but if I stay local, I’m looking at schools like Cabrini, so I probably would play there if I had a chance.”

No matter what, athletics will remain a huge part of her life, just as they have at Little Flower, where she’s not only a two-sport athlete, but she’s the president of athletics.

“We have a president of the school and one for athletics,” Iarosis said. “We are in charge of emailing everyone about things when they start and when there are games. And we do community service. This year, we made sandwiches for police and firefighters during the riots. It meant a lot to me because my dad is a cop, and I know how tired and how hard they worked.

“In general, we just do anything we can for sports. We did a car wash for incoming freshmen, it was free and kids could learn about sports. We just try to get people involved.

“We had to write an essay, and the athletic director and other people picked it. It meant a lot to me because I love Little Flower. I love playing sports, and it’s good to represent athletics at Little Flower.”