Taylor Purkey, an Indiana native, has been playing soccer since she was 9 years old. A sports management major, Purkey now plays the middle outside wing for the Greenville College soccer team. Purkey commented on her growth as a player, “I was really slow but as the years went on I became faster, my touch got better, and I went from being on the third team up to the first team. It took six years to get there.” Purkey worked her way up through dedication, perseverance, and ambition.

In Purkey’s second year at Greenville College, she decided to take a semester off of the sport. Purkey initially came to GC to play soccer, as it was something her parents wanted her to do, but it became an obligation. Eventually, Purkey made the decision to rejoin the team the following semester. She reflected on her break and how she came to the realization that she missed the sport and friendships:

“I took advantage of the friendships I had because I wasn’t enjoying the sport. I got so frustrated at myself and at other people and viewed it all as negative. At practices, I had to put on a face and it didn’t feel like I had any friends on the team. But I was able to take a step back and see that I did have friends and that I really did miss the sport.”

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Before coming to Greenville, Purkey received a lot of yellow-cards, but eventually became more of a “giver and encourager” rather than someone who gets mad at people for making mistakes on the field. Purkey commented on her renewed perspective,

“This is cliché, but I really like the girls, especially here at Greenville.”

womens-soccer-2With her positive attitude, Purkey used her competitive and goal-oriented spirit to get back into shape through lifting weights. She was slow last season, but is now more physically able to play and is much faster because of her workouts. Being on the outside wing requires a lot of running, so this newfound agility has aided her performance. Purkey’s parents continue to support her by attending every home game on the weekends.

Character traits that Purkey gained from playing years of soccer are positivity, a strong work ethic, and patience. She hopes to carry these traits into her Sports Management field by being someone who is personable and able to communicate well with different personalities. Purkey has seen what a good and bad manager looks like from observing how past coaches and captains have led. As a result, she tries to avoid actions that come across as harsh and defensive. Fortunately, Purkey has seen encouragement from her current coach at Greenville College, Jeff Wardlaw, who motivates the girls. Purkey says, “He’ll encourage you to come early for practices or stay after to work on things. If you go to his office to talk to him, he’ll tell you what you need to improve on.”

With Purkey’s determination and spirit, there’s no telling what she will accomplish after graduation. Don’t miss the opportunity to see Purkey and the rest of the GC women’s soccer team shoot for their goals!

by Kayla Parker

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