Soccer is a sport that is internationally famous for its player’s passion. The competitive nature of sports in general often results in true passion and with soccer being the world’s most popular game, this passion is even magnified more.
Taina Anglade is a great example of an athlete showing this passion on and off the field. She played every minute for the Panthers as a true freshman in 2014. She became the first women’s soccer player from Georgia State to be invited to play for a national team with Haiti, her parents native country. The game allowed her to add on to the pride her family holds of their heritage. Aside from being a Georgia State athlete herself, she dates former Panther linebacker Shawanye Lawrence, who finished his college career with 172 career tackles. Her competitive spirit motivates her to perform to or above the level as one of the most accomplished defensive players in program history.
Considering the fact that you were linked to the Haitian national team, how would you describe your love for soccer?
Anglade: Personally I’ve been playing since I was three. So when I was first playing, it was kind of like an activity to do, it kind of didn’t do anything to me. But when I grew up, and I was in high school and faced obstacles in my life and went through different things in high school when it came to boys, my parents, I’m thinking my parents are being too hard on me, or I’m getting in trouble, soccer was the outlet for me. Soccer is the one thing that never let me down. So, my love for soccer is deeper than just sports. It’s really saved my life in a sense. It kept me on the right path, and it kept me out of trouble. So soccer’s everything to me.
How specifically did soccer save your life?
Anglade: I would say the most significant example would be in high school, in the 11th grade. I was literally like a “perfect” student from 9th and 10th grade; I was fine. Then in the 11th grade, I kind of steered off the path. My grades were slipping, my behavioral issues, I wasn’t listening to my parents or anything, but soccer was the one place where my coach was like, ‘No. You’re going to get disciplined. If you disrespect your parents, you’re running at practice.’ He really turned it around for me. It taught me discipline; it taught me hard work, it taught me that nothing came easy. So I feel like, without that life lesson, I would be nowhere near where I am today.
What was your favorite moment growing up playing soccer? What was the first moment you realized you were in love with playing the game?
Anglade: My first moment came pretty late honestly. It was in high school. My junior year I transferred to a new high school, the first year the high school was ever built, and I scored the very first goal in the high school’s history. Just to see the appreciation from everyone, to be remembered for that, it showed me what I can do with it and how much I loved it.
How far do you want to take that love?
Anglade: After college, I plan on continuing to play with Haiti. I think that’s as far as I’d probably take it. Just play internationally.
Do you ever imagine your life without the game?
Anglade: No, not really. Because even if I wasn’t playing, I’d probably want to coach or something. Give that love to other people. So honestly, I feel like this is something that I’ll be involved with for the rest of my life.
So now, for the Valentine’s Day issue’s sake…
Anglade: Oh God [Laughs]…
You have had a past with athletics romantics here at Georgia State. How has that played a part to you in your playing career?
Anglade: Well, you know what you do, you think like, ‘I’m on the soccer team. What I do is so specific to me.’ But when you see someone else working hard towards their sport, having such big dreams and being so ambitious and such a hard-working person, obviously it’s good competition, but you want to be there. You don’t want to be the let down of the relationship [laughs]. You see him, and he just made me want to work harder, and I’m more than appreciative of him for that.
Did both of you ever train together?
Anglade: Not really train together. Over summer, we would have, sort of, optional workouts and he was always the one that was like, ‘Get up. You’re going to workouts.’ So he kind of liked forced me to go, we never really trained together.
Did you go to each other’s games?
Anglade: Yes. He has more traveling to do. I can go to more of his games than he can go to mine, since we play Friday, Sunday and he trains Friday, Sunday. But he did come to a lot of games, and I went to a lot of games. It’s really cool to see him out there.
Any hopes for the future for the both of your careers, since both of you, are upperclassmen?
Anglade: For him, he is training for Pro Day right now. Obviously, more than anything we want to see him in the NFL and play after this. He for sure isn’t done. For me, I just hope to finish my senior year next year and play for Haiti and represent them.
Any other things that you’d like to say about him?
Anglade: Nothing more than just saying that meeting him, obviously in college, was a blessing because you have a ‘sophomore slump’ as I call it. I met him in my sophomore year and as he’s a year older than me, he would tell me, ‘It gets better. You have to work hard for it. You have to prove yourself.’ Every time we would get down, he was the one to remind me that whatever you work for, you get. He would just say, ‘Keep working hard. It’s coming.’ It was like a role model’s word for me.
Was there a specific moment where you thought, ‘I made the right decision’?
Anglade: After I had a really bad game one day and I was literally like, ‘I can’t go back out there.’ I was embarrassed. He just told me that everyone’s going to have bad games. He would say everything I did wrong, and then he said, ‘But you know you’re the only person that can fix that.’ So having him in my corner all the time is when I thought that I made the right decision.
Do you think those words would hold as much weight if he wasn’t an athlete?
Anglade: No, not at all. Yeah, that was a big factor.
Taina Anglade’s Panther career on the field
- Helped set a school record by not allowing a goal for more than 487 minutes over a six-match stretch as a freshman.
- Played every minute of her freshman season at right back.
- Scored a goal in the 2016 season against Charlotte.
- Posted .750 shots on goal percentage in 2016.
- Joined the Haitian women’s national football team.