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Soccer or track? Taylor makes tough decision

GREEN BAY – It’s not often that a college soccer recruit doesn’t play the sport in high school, but Green Bay Preble senior Grace Taylor has a unique situation.

Taylor, a UW-Green Bay women’s soccer commit, found success on the high school track and field team last year and helped her 400-meter relay team advance to the WIAA Division 1 state meet in La Crosse.

“It’s been a tough decision,” said Taylor, who is the daughter of Elizabeth and Marty. “Soccer at UWGB is where I want to be and will play.”

Taylor played for the Hornets’ soccer team her freshman and sophomore years during high school, scoring 13 and 14 goals, respectively, during her two seasons.

That’s when the choices started getting difficult for the former gymnast.

“I loved my days of playing soccer at Preble,” Taylor said. “I loved my coaches and teammates. During my junior year, I also played for a club team in Cedarburg called North Shore. I played there my sophomore year, too, traveling back and forth an hour each way, three times a week. As a club, we decided to play spring soccer during my junior year. One of the main things with the team is getting college scholarships. Because we played in the spring, that meant that I couldn’t play high school soccer anymore. I still wanted to be a part of Preble, so that’s when I decided to join track.”

Grace Taylor

Her North Shore team competes in the National League and MRL Premier 1 League and is currently ranked No. 19 in the nation.

Taylor said that only three of the 16 members of her club team have yet to commit to a college soccer team.

Taylor had a good pedigree in track, so the transition was an easy one.

She still owns the Edison Middle School record in the 100.

While running track last season for the Hornets, that’s when Taylor’s dream became reality, and she committed to UWGB for soccer.

“This year was an even tougher decision,” said Taylor, who will study business and marketing at Green Bay. “Since I committed to UWGB last spring – and that was my main goal – I could have played high school soccer again this season, but I had so much fun in track last year that I decided to do it again.”

Taylor will also be playing for the Green Bay Glory women’s soccer team this spring/summer, so that helped her make the decision to run track once more.

The Glory is made up of talented players from around the area and state playing in the Women’s Premier Soccer League.

Ironically, they will play their home games at UWGB.

“I’m so excited, especially because it’s something new in Green Bay,” Taylor said. “It’s so great that it’s a women’s team and it’s happening. I think the best part of it will be that I’m mostly playing with women that are older than me. I’ll be learning from them as well – not just about soccer but life in general.”

Taylor said her high school soccer coach, Adam Ropson, was supportive of her decision to run track her last two years at Preble, even though he knew he was losing a valuable member of his team.

“Coach Ropson helped make the decision easier for me because he wasn’t mad at me,” said Taylor. “He knew what I was doing was the best for my soccer career and he was supportive of that. I will still go to the games and cheer on the girls.”

Before she laces up the cleats and plays for the Glory, Taylor is focusing on her senior track season.
“I think our prospects of making it back to state in the 400 relay are pretty strong,” Taylor said. “I also really want to make it to state in the 100. Last year at sectionals, I was seeded fifth or sixth and took eighth. I was pretty disappointed.”

Last track season is in the past, and Taylor is looking toward the future.

“I am looking forward to my senior year in track and soccer career and future at UWGB,” she added.

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