Taline Tahmassian is the 18-year-old forward for the Santa Clara University women's soccer team — the 2001 national champions! Taline's family of soccer sensations introduced her to the game at an early age. Taline says, "Soccer is in my blood — I have always been around it. When I was younger, I looked at my brother and sister and wanted to be like them. I played on the sidelines at their games, and I was always involved. My father, sister, and brother all played soccer at the collegiate level...I was destined to play!"
Taline keeps a very rigorous workout schedule. "In the off-season during high school, I did some sort of cardiovascular exercise everyday. I ran long distance one day, sprints another. I also did a lot of special exercises which helped to increase my quickness and agility, and of course played a lot of soccer you can't forget that!" Taline also had a personal trainer who helped her learn all aspects of the game. "He gave me drills and workouts to better my skills, and I would do them over and over again." Now at college, Taline's workouts have become more specific to her position on the field, and her coaches have added weight training to her program to increase her strength.
Taline's hard work made her one of the nation's top college soccer recruits in 2001. Before that, she led her high school team to the Virginia state championships and was named the Virginia AAA, Gatorade, and NSCAA/adidas All-State Player of the Year. She also helped lead her club team, the Chantilly Spurs, to five state cup championships resulting in her appearance in Sports Illustrated
's July 2000 "Faces In the Crowd." Taline also traveled to Iceland with the U.S. 17 and under National team to compete against the Icelandic National team, and has played in international competitions against China, Japan, and Australia!
Shoot for the Stars
Taline advises beginners to start playing as young as possible and to enjoy the sport they play. "I love soccer! If I dreaded it I don't think I would have come this far. Make sure it makes you happy. Set your priorities. Dedication is key, and work ethic coaches love players who never stop working...Keep a good attitude! Learn the fundamentals of passing and shooting, and get in shape!"
To learn more about soccer programs and clinics in your own area, Taline suggests asking local coaches for advice. "Talk to your school's soccer coaches. Tell them...I'm this age, I want to start playing soccer, what programs, leagues, or drills do you suggest? If you are already playing soccer, check out club teams in your area. They are also really good resources."
Remember, you don't have to have a trainer or a super athletic family to have a blast playing soccer. Just take your ball and your ambition straight to the goal. SCORE!
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