Taytum Terrell has played soccer since she was four-years-old and trained to play the sport at a high level for the better part of her life.
Terrell remembers coming home from school at an early age and seeing practice cones scattered around their backyard. They were placed there by her father, Clemon, who put the Terrell siblings through agility and soccer drills on the regular.
It was an effort to help them reach their full athletic potential and possibly the college level one day. For Taytum, all that hard work paid off Wednesday when she signed to play soccer at Troy University. She did so alongside her two sisters, Kendyl and Lachan, and mother, Rosalind. An empty chair was left at the table, and it wasn’t for her brother, Clem, who was unable to attend. It was for her father, Clemon, who tragically passed away last November.
“I know he [Clemon] is very happy for me because he would always tell there was going to be someone coming and they’re gonna want you and they’re not gonna stop until they get you,” Taytum Terrell said. “That’s what Troy did, and it just made me think about him when I committed.
“I visited a couple schools, and I went to Troy and I was like ‘I love it here’. The atmosphere is amazing. The coaches and players and everybody makes me feel at home. Even though it’s four hours away, it makes me feel very homely.”
Terrell committed to the Trojans back in March prior to her senior year at Hattiesburg High School. But in September, she tore her ACL, and just like that, her storied high school career was over. Terrell has played at the varsity level since her seventh grade year, and she reached 200 career goals late last season. All told, she found the back of the net 203 times in five years and fell short of her ultimate goal of 250.
“I was upset at first, but at the end of the day, I did a lot before going to college,” Terrell said. “I just feel good about everything.”
Terrell had surgery in October and has been rehabbing five days a week for up to two hours a day ever since.
For a while, Terrell was worried the Troy coaches might not want her after such a serious injury, but they never wavered and let it be known that she remained their top recruit for the 2019 class. That’s motivated her even more in the recovery process.
“I’m very dedicated to soccer,” Terrell said. “I know for sure I need to get back right because I refuse to go back out there and not be as good as I was.
“It’s very special because when you start at a young age, you are really excited to play soccer and you always want to go the furthest you can go. So to be able to play Division I, it’s really an honor, especially after my injury and them still wanting me. That’s a huge honor.”