Owls senior helps lead soccer team’s improvement

For The Tribune

During a high school soccer match, Taylor Heckman gives 100 percent from start to finish.

“I think every minute counts,” she said. “Each play builds on the next.”

The senior recently finished her fourth season playing for Seymour.

“We’ve improved a lot over the four years, especially this year,” Heckman said. “We made leaps-and-bounds from just our record last year. Soccer has meant a lot to me. It has always been a constant.

“In school I feel I struggle to get the grades I get, but in soccer I feel it just comes natural. I feel like I can be me and actually feel confident in what I’m doing, and know I’m doing it well. ”

The Owls finished 12-5-1 this season.

Heckman began playing soccer in the Seymour Park and Rec. Leagues and has been involved in the sport for a decade.

Outside of the high school season, Heckman played with the Seymour Cyclones travel team.

“I think all the traveling was worth it because the more playing time in a game that you get, the better you are, and the teams that we play are also travel,” Heckman said. “They’re more experienced and skilled than if I was playing at the rec level, so how they play each game taught me something of how I needed to work on things.”

On the pitch, Heckman served as a defensive specialist for the Owls.

“I mostly played on the defensive end — I played outside-left back,” Heckman said. “I have played center back and defensive midfielder before, though.

“I like playing left back the best because I like to be aggressive and outside. My job was to contain and to keep the other team from scoring,” she said and added that she enjoys the physical part of the game.

Heckman said she enjoyed playing on the turf field the past two seasons.

“I love it. I feel very blessed to have this type of field since we’re the only ones in the area to have a turf field,” she said. “The ball rolls a lot faster. The ball rolls a little different in the rain.”

She said two matches stand at the top of her favorites.

“When we beat Providence because we hadn’t beaten them in six years, and the other would be Silver Creek because we tied them and they had always been a challenging team for us and I think we held our own that game,” Heckman said.

The coaches rotated captains game-by-game this fall, and Heckman said it was an honor to serve in that role in certain matches.

“It pushed me to lead more and to speak up,” she said. “Communication was a key to our success in scoring because if you have communication you can compact the field and spread out and make those crosses. I think any sport is mental because you have to realize what you have to push through and in order to achieve that goal you have to push through that pain.”

She has enjoyed being a student-athlete at Seymour.

“I enjoyed the bus rides: It was a good time for all of us to bond and we could all sing,” Heckman said. “Soccer has brought me some of my closest friends, especially playing since the rec. days, and during Cyclones because we would have tournaments all the time. Our families would get together and go out to eat and we would swim.”

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Name: Taylor Heckman

School: Seymour High School

Parents; Fred and Robin Heckman

Sports: soccer 4 years, track 1 year

Athletic highlights: 2014 top team player, 2017 academic all-state

Organizations: National Honor Society, D.A.R.E., Girls Inc., Seymour Christian Youth Group

Plans after high school: attend college and major in nursing get RN-BSN degree

Favorite food: Chinese food

Favorite TV show: Pretty Little Liars

Favorite singer: Bruno Mars

Favorite movie: Grease

Favorite team: Indiana University