Taylyn Strickland had 21 points through the first seven games of the 2019-20 soccer season.
Plant City High School’s girls soccer team entered 2020 with a winning record (4-2-1), and a key cog in the Raiders machine has been senior forward Taylyn Strickland. Through the team’s first seven games, Strickland scored nine goals and added three assists to lead the team in both areas, also giving her a team-high total of 21 points. Her best game was the Nov. 14 season opener against Gaither, in which she scored four goals.
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You’ve started the season strong. What’s working for you this year that’s better than before?
I’m not really sure. I do play up top by myself kind of a lot more. We play with more of a defensive strategy, so maybe I have more opportunities because I’m up there all the time. I’ve just grown over the years, figured out where I need to be for through balls, anything like that.
What does this team do really well overall?
This team is definitely more together friend-wise. We get along more than any other team I’ve been on through the four years.
What kind of role do you take with the team now as a senior?
I’m not really like a verbal person as in, “Come on, ladies, let’s go.” I lead on the field. I’ll direct on the field but not too much off.
Where have you improved most in four years?
Definitely shooting to the corners. I used to just, I don’t know, happy kick it. Now I’m pretty good at picking my head up and placing it. I think that helps me score more.
What’s been your favorite moment of your high school career?
When we get a win and we’re together, it just feels like we’re all together as a team. It just feels good. That’s my favorite thing: how we hype each other up and make it fun.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
I keep my jewelry on until we line up and I do not like to, like — I had the same cleats for a while that were ripped, I just got new ones — I don’t like to wash my cleats or anything.
How did the jewelry thing come about?
I just felt like I needed to have it on, and then it became a thing. And also, I wear jewelry that’s from family and stuff, so I like to have it with me until we have to line up.
Any college plans?
It is something I’m working on, but I did just visit Dalton State and on Jan. 19 I’m going to Nova Southeastern. I kind of want to stay close to home.
What are you looking for in any program?
I want to get better and develop. I want to play with people better than me so I can grow. Also, I want to major in business management so hopefully there’s a good program there, too.
What advice would you give to someone joining the team next year?
Just don’t think you’re too good for anyone. You always have to work really hard and hard work beats skill any day.