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Taylor Canel, senior midfielder and co-captain of the 2006 CSUN men’s soccer team, can’t think of many things he loves more than playing soccer. It’s the reason why he transferred to CSUN. He played at UCLA during his first two years in college, but he wasn’t getting enough playing time. Since he hoped to make a career for himself in the professional ranks, he knew he needed playing time. After winning the UCLA Coaches’ Award his freshman year and starting his first game in the NCAA quarterfinals that same year, a new head coach took over and Canel didn’t play as much his sophomore year. “It wasn’t a bad relationship with the coaches, it was really just no relationship,” Canel said. He joined the Matadors his junior year and enjoyed the most memorable moment of his college career-beating Big West conference rival UC Santa Barbara 3-2 to advance to the Sweet 16 of the 2005 NCAA tournament before getting knocked out by New Mexico. It was also the fan support that made it so special.
“It was a good feeling to know we were turning some heads,” said Canel. “People I didn’t even know would come up to me and say, ‘Hey, great game.'”
As far as this season goes, Canel will remember beating UCSB 5-0 on Sept. 27. It showed the potential of the Matadors, since they shut out the Gauchos, who would go on to beat UCLA for the national championship. Taylor attended the game in St. Louis to support his best friend, Kiel McClung, who played for UCLA. Showing just how big the rivalry is with the Gauchos, Canel said, “It was tough to watch UCSB win it.” This coming from a guy who could have been in the national championship game if he had stayed with UCLA. Still, he shows no regret.
Canel has entered the Major League Soccer draft which takes place Jan. 12. He thinks he could get picked as early as the second round, but he also realizes that he may not get picked at all. If that should happen, he will look to try out for pro leagues in Germany, Mexico or Argentina.