A native of Gillingham, England, Miri Taylor’s journey brought her to Long Island to attend Hofstra University. “I knew many girls my age and older who made the decision to be a student athlete in America, and without the same opportunity afforded in England back then I wanted to get a degree whilst simultaneously training and playing as much as possible,” Taylor told BGN. “Also, it was a challenge I had never endured before, and seeing girls go off to great schools in the US I just wanted to maximize playing and my studies and minimize financial strain for my family.”
“Hofstra seemed the perfect fit for me, the number of internationals made me feel at home, the campus and location seemed right, and I just wanted to play as much as possible and thankfully I came in as a starter and have kept my place over the years.”
She’s done far more than just keep her place over the years. In every NCAA season she’s played at Hofstra, Taylor has been an All-CAA performer. She’s in the top ten in career assists, career points, and is a lock to do the same in career goals. But, the 2021 CAA Preseason Attacking Player of the Year understands how important her teammates are to her individual success. She said, “I wouldn’t be where I am today without my teammates, old and new, they’re a credit to themselves, the staff and the programme. Individual awards help broadcast your hard work to the various leagues, at home, and in the US as I hope to go pro at the end of this year, but every single player on the team knows their worth and everyone plays as great a role as the next.
“I am so happy with the vision we have to drive and continue on, and leave behind a greater legacy than how we found it. The teams’ unity and determination enable individual successes as we push each other each and every day for that one percent marginal gain in whatever we are focusing on through training, injury prevention, conditioning, and psychological meetings.”
Through eight matches this season, Hofstra is 7-1 with Taylor playing a starring role with eight goals and five assists, including a brace and an assist in Hofstra’s latest win over Yale yesterday. Discussing the early success for herself and the team, Miri said, “I just think the desire and determination this team has always had has been amplified by the inability to defend our CAA string long title wins. But over the summer I worked hard individually in the gym as well as on shooting, heading and holding play up, fitness and sprinting, and as soon as the team stepped onto the turf early August we hit the ground running with great practises and solid wins.”
— Hofstra Women's Soccer (@HofstraWSOC) September 12, 2021
“Our team is more unified, positive, happy, together, dynamic, accountable; motivated than ever before and this is parallel to how well we have been performing. We’re hungry to steal back the CAA title and we can only do that by continuing to stick together, learning and growing daily, individually improving and having fun while we work hard and of late we’ve shown that in my opinion,” she added when asked why this year’s team could be better than previous years. In the latest NCAA Top-25 rankings, Hofstra is back in action on Thursday vs. Princeton. (Kickoff is set for 7 PM ET and the match will be live on ESPN+)
Miri knows what a winning team looks like, winning titles with both Arsenal and Chelsea in the youth ranks. “It was a childhood dream to play for these giants of women’s football,” the lifelong Chelsea supporter said. “To play for Chelsea for six consecutive years, earning Youth Cups, many minutes and being called up to the first team and receiving game time with the likes of Karen Carney, Millie Bright, Ji So Yun, Fran Kirby with (N’Golo) Kante just the other side of the bushes at Cobham, pushed me to learn so much.”
“And then moving to the red side of London and playing for Arsenal for a year, earning a Youth Cup and game time with the first team playing with one of my idols Jordan Nobbs was stuff dreams are made of.”
She’s also represented her country at multiple levels of the youth national team. “Yes, I have represented my country at U15, U17 and U18 level and gone to a U19 camp, making 24 appearances and making some history with fantastic squads along the way,” Taylor explained. “There’s nothing greater than playing for your country, and all I can do is work hard, grow as a player and a person and play well. I have learnt a lot over the last couple of years, about myself, what I want to achieve, and how to get there. I would love to play pro in a good league and put myself in the best position possible for a call up.”
With experience playing in England and now the United States, how would Taylor describe the sport here to someone back home? She answered, “Soccer in the States is very dynamic, athletic, and physical, insofar as you have to be fit, know your position well but also be versatile (positionally), creative in your play, and jump high!”
“The States game is quite long diagonal balls to the wide players, high crosses for aerial duels. It is played at a very fast pace, faster than back home, and differs from Football in England considerably, so much so that we retain the ball more, it’s the European way to possess and create your opportunities through their lapse in fitness, judgement or concentration as opposed to individual brilliance sometimes. We have fantastic technical, and tactical abilities as well as speed of play, creative players that can also change the point of attack with one through ball, but maybe I’m biased. But conversely I’d say we’re more physical on the ball, taking pride in our defending and out muscling your opponents.”
Off the pitch, there is a tradeoff in the food situations in the US and back home. “Definitely good old Sunday roasts, and fish & chips (the proper seaside pub grub),” she said about the food she misses most back in England. “But whilst I’m here, the Mexican food is so much better, and I adore Mexican food so I’d have to say that helps my English food cravings a little bit.”
While she has excelled in soccer at Hofstra, Taylor is more than an athlete during her time at the school. She is majoring in Rhetoric and Public Advocacy, an intriguing selection. “Yes, the major is how you use rhetoric, the art to master communication and persuasion, in writing, speaking or any form of communication,” Miri explained. “I loved ancient Greek rhetoric, learning about Plato, Socrates and Aristotle and the appeal of linguistics.”
“I minor in Linguistics and speech communication, and over the summer I work in a clinic for young people with speech impediments, autism and psychosis, which would be a fantastic job to carry on in the future or write in the field. It’s the oldest form of communication, and we really have no understanding of acquisition, it just happens and I find it so interesting. It’s quite a broad field when you study this major. I could go into publishing, teaching, politics, the arts, media advertising, PR; journalism.”
Any of those occupations would be lucky to have Taylor, but as talented as she is with the ball at her feet, it’s fair to guess that her first professional career will be on the soccer pitch.