One doesn’t have to know a lot about soccer to see the impact Jonathan Taylor has on the Manhattan High soccer team.
The senior anchors the Indians’ midfield, setting up play after play in almost every game.
Taylor has played soccer for almost 12 years — starting in the first grade. The elements of the game draw him in, in a way that he can’t explain.
“I really like playing,” Taylor said Thursday. “The intensity, passing the ball — I don’t know how to explain it.”
MHS head coach Frank Alonso said having Taylor on his roster is something special. An All-State selection his junior year, this isn’t the first year Taylor has had an impact on his team.
“The nice thing about JT is he’s got a nice balance between a real passionate, hard-nosed type of player and a good sense of humor,” Alonso said. “Against Washburn, he was literally brilliant. I mean, he was a one-man wrecking crew. He’s a very, very good player and he’s a hard worker.”
While scoring has always been a goal of his, teammates look up to Taylor to make plays happen and create goal-scoring opportunities, even if that means not taking the glory himself.
“Everybody wants to score,” said Taylor, who also plays basketball in the winter. “I wanted to get at least four goals again like I did last year, but ultimately we want to win the state championship, and if we can do that, I don’t care how many goals I score.”
There’s no doubt from Alonso that Taylor plays a significant role on the field.
“He’s not going to be a stat person,” Alonso said, “but what he is is the glue. He’s the midfield anchor, that’s his job. He probably has 15 assists this year.”
After high school, Taylor said he wants to go on and play soccer, basketball, or both, at the collegiate level. Alonso said he has no doubt Taylor can make it as a soccer player.
Taylor will return to the field tonight with the Indians after MHS lost to Hayden 3-2 on Tuesday in overtime. The Indians host Topeka High at 6:15 at Anneberg Park.
Taylor said maintaining possession of the ball, which is crucial in the midfield position he plays, will be an important factor for the Indians to come away with a win.
“I have high expectations for myself and I think my teammates do too,” Taylor said. “We need to keep the ball moving through the midfield and if we lose it, get it back. We’ve got to continue to keep possession.”