Jodie Taylor is such a Millennial.
Travels away from home to go to university but then moves back home? Check.
Constantly bouncing from job to job to find the “right fit”? Check
Traveling to multiple continents in her twenties? Check.
Scoring the first hat trick in the Women’s Euros in twenty years? Ok, that may be more unique.
As the Arsenal men struggle to retain world class talent and sign even more, the Arsenal Ladies have on their roster a truly world class strikers. Unlike a Kylian Mbappe or Alexis Sanchez, Jodie Taylor took a bit longer to reach the level of world class although she definitely had the “world” part well defined.
Taylor burst into soccer consciousness with a hat trick to open the 2017 Women’s European Championship in England’s 6-0 rout of Scotland. She’s added two more to her account and will be a main threat for the Lionesses when they face France this weekend in the tournament’s quarter-finals.
Taylor’s Arsenal career has been a bit more abbreviated. She was signed in 2016 and promptly injured her knee. She has just now been able to contribute to the club but if her international form is any indication, she will be a major asset to Arsenal in 2017.
When talking about Jodie Taylor, most of the focus is on her journey to this point. She was born just outside Liverpool and began her professional career with English clubs. After her club was relegated she went to university at Oregon State in the U.S., where she played U.S. college soccer. After leaving school, where she also did some coaching, she bounced around playing for clubs in Australia, England, Sweden, and the U.S. (including my local professional side).
Despite performing well everywhere she went, she was left off the Lioness squad for the 2013 Euros. In interviews during this tournament, Taylor notes this was an understandably critical time for her. She emailed the coaches to ask why she was left off or what she could do to improve, but they were unmoved.
The amazing thing about football is how small a community it can seem at times. Playing in Portland for the local National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) side, Taylor connected with Arsenal manager Pedro Martinez Losa. He had spent two years as manager of the then-Western New York Flash, also in the NWSL, and knew Taylor’s body of work. The outreach led to her signing.
All told, Jodie Taylor has scored for 12 different clubs in five countries and three continents. While she is establishing herself as a star at age 31 for country, her form should carry over when the Arsenal Ladies return to play this fall in the new Super League schedule. That is a reason for all Arsenal fans to be optimists.