League of Her Own
A local all-star brings her record-breaking skills to the Waves women’s soccer team.
Just last year Waves women's soccer forward Taylor Alvarado was inducted into the Ventura County Hall of Fame for breaking the scoring record she set as a high school student in 2011.
Under the guidance of coach Jesus Cordova, the diminutive forward scored 44 goals in 22 games in her final year at Santa Paula High School, an achievement that qualified her to participate in the Under-17 (U-17) Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan as a member of the U-17 Mexican National team.
Now as a Waves power player, Alvarado continues to dominate the field with her confident strides and the skills she has fine-tuned over the course of her short yet impressive career. Coming off of her recent competition in the CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship in the Cayman Islands with the Mexican U-20 national team, she reflects on her successes thus far and her professional goals following graduation.
PEPPERDINE MAGAZINE: Can you recall the moment you knew that soccer could be something you wanted to pursue in the long term?
TAYLOR ALVARADO: I wasn’t very good at soccer when I first started out. My dad was my coach when I was younger and there came a point when he was going to cut me from the team. I started to think that soccer wasn’t for me, but I wanted to prove to him that I could play, so I would spend my extra hours practicing. Over the course of a few months, I actually got better. I made the first cut when I tried out for the national team in my freshman year of high school, and I think that was the moment when I knew that I wanted to play at the highest level.
PM: Your father was a collegiate and professional soccer player. How did his career influence you?
TA: He knows so much about the game and has taught me so much. Being able to watch him play, seeing the way he taught, and listening to him give me coaching points influenced me a lot in wanting to play at a high level. I wanted to beat
his record and do what he could do.
PM: How did it feel to represent Mexico on the U-17 national team?
TA: Playing on the national team was probably the best experience I’ve ever gone through. It came with a lot of sacrifices. I was on independent study half of my high school years, but even though I had to give up a lot, many good things came of it. I got to play in the World Cup, I started every game, played every game. Our games were being broadcast on TV and we were playing against experienced teams.
PM: What do you still carry with you from that experience?
TA: My mentality. From the very beginning, I wasn’t very mentally tough, but as I went through the process there came a point where my mentality got stronger, so that enables me to get through different situations here at the college level. I went in not knowing what I was up against, because that was the first time I was playing against these high-level teams. I had played against the girls on my team, but playing against girls from Japan, New Zealand, the United States ... I learned a lot from those players.
PM: How is your relationship with the Waves women’s soccer team?
TA: I love the chemistry that we all have. We all get along and I just really enjoy going out on the field with tons of energy. We start out yelling and screaming and bringing a lot of energy to the field and I think that really has helped me become closer to all of them. We have great things coming our way.
PM: What is the best part of playing on [Waves women’s soccer] Coach Ward’s team?
TA: He’s such a positive coach. I know he has faith in me and what I do. There was a time when I scored a winning goal at practice and later on that day he texted me and said, ‘I’m so proud of you.’ And I think that was just a really great motivation because it was a reward!
I like hearing positive things from him or from Coach [Jennifer] Brewer.
PM: Who is your soccer hero?
TA: I look up to the way [FC Barcelona forward Lionel] Messi plays. He’s a small player and I think of myself as a small player compared to everyone else [Alvarado is 5’3”]. I admire the way he’s able to handle things under pressure and still play his best. That’s what I look up to.
PM: Where do you see your soccer career going after graduation?
TA: My main goal is to get onto the international team. From there, I do want to try and play on one of the pro leagues. I don’t want my soccer career to end after I leave Pepperdine. I know that I can’t just depend on soccer for the rest of my life and I know there’s going to be a time when I’m going to need to find something else, but I just haven’t found that yet.