BRENT LATHAM - Thursday, October 1, 2009
Things have been changing fast and furious for Tony Taylor of late, as the former college star has signed with Traffic Sports, and is now starring in Egypt as he looks for a permanent home in Europe.
Taylor is a relative newcomer to the US national youth teams, having hooked up with Thomas Rongen's squad after a good collegiate season at Jacksonville University in 2008. The Virginia native says a good NCAA tournament in 2008 got him on Rongen's radar.
"We had a real good season and we made the NCAA tournament," Taylor said. "I got spotted from that tournament, and called in after that tournament."
Taylor gave up college after the U-20 qualifying tournament in Trinidad and Tobago, and headed to Europe for a pair of training sessions with teams in Norway and Belgium. Despite doing well there, Taylor says sometimes it's difficult to find a club with a particular need,
"It's real competitive," he said. "A lot of times it's tough because you may not be what they are looking for at the moment. It's basically getting in as many trials as you can seeing where you fit in well."
Shortly before traveling to Egypt, Taylor gave up his search and signed with Traffic Sports USA in Miami. The organization had already signed teammate Gale Agbossoumonde, and brought on Taylor anticipating a good show at the U-20 World Cup. Since then, Taylor has been officially affiliated with Miami FC of the USL, though he has trained with Traffic's affiliate club in the Portuguese second division.
"I am with Traffic now and the contract says Miami FC," Taylor explained. "But right now I was training with Estoril in Portugal. I was there for about a week and half."
Taylor said he would like to sign somewhere in Europe, though he would consider MLS. Either way, the U-20 World Cup is a big chance for him to show his wares.
"Right now they sent me to a team in Portugal to prepare for the World Cup and now we are going to see how things go here. If I can get into Europe, I'd like to go to Europe. We will see what happens that then talk afterwards."
Taylor is the son of Panamanian immigrants. His father served in the US military, meaning Taylor moved around a lot as a youth, splitting his time between Virginia and Florida. Though he says he is proud to suit up for the Stars and Stripes, he wouldn't discount the possibility of paying for Panama one day if asked.
"I think it would be pretty cool since my parents are from there," Taylor said. "But I've spent my whole life in America so I feel like an American. I love my heritage too and my parents' heritage."
Taylor had a goal and an assist in the Americans' 4-1 victory over Cameroon on Tuesday, and also started the first match against Germany.