Former UCLA player and Hermann Trophy finalist Matt Taylor has taken a long route to success as a pro since leaving college and being the fourth overall MLS draft pick in 2004. His injury-marred spells with the Kansas City Wizards and Chivas USA were followed by a stint at the Portland Timbers in USL-1, after which a period at Hollywood United FC led to unsuccessful trials with Australian A-League clubs.
But former Australian national team player Paul Agostino took a liking to him and, having played for several years in Germany, helped set up Taylor with trials at German second division teams FSV Frankfurt and TuS Koblenz. At the latter club, Taylor is finally making good. He's scored a team-leading four goals in seven games, including a hat trick and an assist in a 5-0 win over high-flying Kaiserslautern that garnered him a "world class" perfect 1.0 rating from the respected weekly sports magazine kicker.
"Just from day one here in Koblenz I had a very good feeling," Taylor, 27, told David Smith. "The locker room just seemed like a good atmosphere, a good environment. The coaching staff and players were really welcoming. It just seemed like a good place and a good fit." After scoring on his debut in the season's opener, Taylor faded and was given a rest from the starting lineup, but "it just worked out for the Kaiserslautern game that everything came together for me." Although the next game, a 9-0 shellacking by Hansa Rostock, stopped the team from getting too confident.
Taylor said the level of play in the second division is not to be sniffed at. "Every player on the field in the starting 11 is very sound technically in terms of holding the ball, keeping the ball, tactically knowing what to do and where to position themselves," he said. "You have guys that have played Champions League. Some have been capped with their national teams."