SOMERS, N.Y. — It is always wise to listen to your mother as Somers resident Taylor Washington can attest to.
Washington was taken in the MLS SuperDraft, conducted by Major League Soccer, on Jan. 14, in the second round with the No. 23 overall pick by the Philadelphia Union.
However, at first he decided not to take part in the draft-day festivities, which were held in Baltimore.
“To be able to be drafted to such an incredible organization is such a huge honor,” said Washington, a left back. “I wasn’t originally going to head down to the draft. My mom came into my room the night before the draft, after we had agreed earlier in the day to stay home, and said, ‘Don’t you want to experience it?’
Washington wisely listened to his mom and is grateful that he did.
“It was such an incredible opportunity and an honor to be a part of,” Washington said. “I can’t thank the Philadelphia Union and MLS enough. If you asked me a month ago if this was going to happen, I don’t know what I would say. I am truly humbled and honored.”
Washington, who is a Rye Country Day High School graduate where he was a All-American, just finished his senior season at George Mason University in the fall.
“The coaching staff at George Mason has been incredible,” Washington said. “They have been preparing me for this experience since I stepped through their doors almost three years ago. I am thankful to have had such great training and teammates over the past three years. Everything that I have done at Mason has led me to this point and I’m so grateful to the University for allowing me to play and study there. At George Mason we worked hard on the basics and everything started with defense.”
This past summer Washington played for the D.C. United Under-23 squad, an experience that he said solidified his desire to become a professional soccer player.
“I was playing with some of the most skilled players and best teams in the country,” Washington said. “Each and every day was a blessing. Coach Richie Burke is such a phenomenal coach and it was such a honor to play under him. I was also fortunate and lucky enough to train with the D.C. United first team, which showed and instilled the belief in me that I can play at the next level.”
While Washington excels on the field, he is also just as good in the classroom, as he can boast of a 3.56 grade-point average.
“To be a student athlete in college you have to make a lot of sacrifices,” Washington said. “When I was diagnosed with dyslexia, in the summer of 2012, I knew that I would have to work even harder than ever before to complete the work to my best of my ability. Thanks to Candy Anderson, the learning specialist that helped me during my remediation, I have been able to be successful both on the field and in the classroom.”
While he will miss the people at George Mason, Washington is excited for the next chapter of his life in Philadelphia.
“I want to bring my attributes to the Philadelphia Union to help them win games and win the MLS Cup,” Washington said. “I believe that we have a ton of talent from the draft class so far and the team is really on the up and up. It’s going to be a great year in Philadelphia.”