Maryland Athletics 2022 Hall of Fame Spotlight: Taylor Twellman … –

Taylor Twellman dominated his competition in basically every sport he tried.  
Coming out of Saint Louis University High School, he was an all-star athlete in football, basketball, soccer, and baseball, in which the Kansas City Royals offered him a contract.
Twellman ended up playing soccer at Maryland for two seasons—and what a couple of years they were. 
During his short time as a Terp, he finished his career 10th in career goals (28), tied for 6th in career assists (17), and tied for 7th in career points (73). Additionally, he was named the 1998 Freshman of the Year by Soccer America and College Soccer Weekly and was a two-time Second Team All-American by College Soccer Weekly. 
“Taylor is one of the best competitors I’ve ever coached,” men’s soccer coach Sasho Cirovski said. “He’s one of the best goal scorers I’ve ever had and he was the most well-rounded athlete I’ve ever been around.”
Twellman was also a two-time First Team All-ACC member and was a finalist for the Hermann Trophy and MAC Player of the Year Award as a sophomore in 1999.
“He was a scoring machine,” Cirovski said. “He just had a swagger. It was like ‘I’m better than you and I’m going to score on you.’ It didn’t matter who we were playing, he just had this swagger. And it was great because he backed it up.”
In October, Twellman will be enshrined in Maryland Athletics history forever with his induction into the Hall of Fame. 
“It’s about time he got inducted,” former teammate Keith Beach said. “Not only was he a great athlete at College Park, he was a great athlete in our sport in the United States and the MLS, and now he’s gone on to be a leader in the soccer space with ESPN and his charity. He’s well-deserving of it and I’m very excited for him.”
Twellman, who thought he was being pranked when he first heard the news from Cirovski, considers the honor the perfect closing chapter to his illustrious career.
“It immediately hit me how it brings my career and my life kinda full circle,” Twellman said of his initial reaction. “It’s going to be really cool to say I’m in the University of Maryland’s Hall of Fame.”
Fun Fact: @TaylorTwellman came to Maryland on a baseball scholarship…

He never made it to the diamond ??

Watch as @SashoCirovski tells TT he's a Hall of Famer!
After turning down the Royals out of high school, Twellman had no shortage of programs reaching out to recruit him for soccer and baseball. Several people in his hometown of St. Louis expected the star to stay in the Midwest, but Twellman had other plans.
“There were a bunch of schools who wanted me to play both (sports), and Maryland was the best option,” Twellman said. “It surprised a lot of people in St. Louis, and it surprised some people in my family. There hasn’t been a single part of my life where I regretted that decision.”
Twellman was drawn to both Terp coaching staffs. He particularly respected that he would have an opportunity to get significant playing time as a freshman but would have to earn every minute of it.
“They just did everything right, but they also pushed the right buttons,” Twellman said. “Both of them told me I had to show up and earn it. It wasn’t given. But I asked them if it mattered that I was 18 and a freshman, and they both told me that if I was ready to play at a high level, I would play no matter how old I was.”
Cirovski also sold the two-sport athlete on the chance to help push the soccer program over the top.
“He could have gone to Indiana which was already established, but he wanted to be part of something that was going to put a flag up, and show that Maryland is here,” Cirovski said.
It didn’t take long for Twellman to realize he had made the correct choice.
“Right when I walked on campus, I knew I made the right decision,” he said. “I think that’s unique; I think some people don’t get that. I felt very fortunate that when I showed up on the opening day of soccer preseason, I knew this is where I was meant to be.”
Twellman carried his same swagger and talent into Maryland, but he was also extremely eager to learn and progress within the college game. 
“He was always very respectful and wanted to learn, grow and develop into a better player and person,” said Beach, a senior when Twellman was a freshman. “He knew he was talented and backed that up with his play, but also knew that he had room to improve and become a better player.” 
Twellman excelled during his freshman season and was the leading point and goal-scorer on a team that earned a berth in the 1998 College Cup, the first of Cirovski’s legendary career. He also scored the game-winning goals in the first and second-round NCAA tournament games that year.
“What makes him great is that if you’re playing chess, checkers, cornhole, whatever, this kid is playing to win,” Cirovski said. “He’s a bundle of energy; he’s always had a pep in his step. He just couldn’t wait to get out and compete and get better in whatever it was he was doing.” 
Twellman still takes immense pride in that first season and what it meant for the program’s future.
“I think it jump-started what University of Maryland men’s soccer is today,” Twellman said. “To be a very, very small part of Sasho and his history, and to see what he used that year and turned it into, that’s pretty cool.
After being named Freshman of the Year and receiving national recognition for his play, the U20 USA National Team invited Twellman to the team. The only caveat—he would have to leave Maryland during that semester and would not be able to play baseball. 
Twellman recalls the decision being extremely difficult, but even head baseball coach Tom Bradley told him it was too good of a chance to miss.
“I had too many unbelievable soccer opportunities that I couldn’t pass down,” Twellman said. “The freshman season I had expedited the process to professional soccer way faster than Sasho and I thought.”
Again, he had to decide when it came to baseball and, again, if soccer was the right call. 
“There’s a part of me that will always wonder what would have happened if I played baseball,” Twellman said. “It’s not a regret, but I’m indebted to the University of Maryland baseball program for life. They took a real chance on me; they wanted me to be there. I owe them a lot.”
Twellman loved his Maryland experience outside of soccer just as much. He cites the camaraderie between all student-athletes and the school’s academic prowess as his main reasons. He took 18 credits his first semester and is currently in the final stages of completing his degree.
“Even though I was only there two semesters, those two semesters were some of the most important times of my life,” Twellman said. “I’m just extremely grateful that I made a very, very good decision in a time where I had a lot of options. I just went with my gut, and my gut made the right decision.”
After departing from Maryland, Twellman spent three years in Germany before returning to the States in 2002, where the New England Revolution selected him No. 2 overall in the MLS SuperDraft. Twellman played in 174 games for the Revolution, totaling 101 goals from 2002-10. He was also a member of the US Senior National team from 2002-08 and scored six international goals in 30 career caps.
Twellman credits his professional success to the values instilled in him as a Terp.
“Sasho taught me there was an innate responsibility that I had as an athlete to show up every game or training like it’s my last one,” Twellman said. “The energy and attitude of what it means to be a professional athlete, a professional human being, that started at Maryland with Sasho.” 
Twellman dominated the league throughout his MLS career and was named an MLS all-star five times. He was also the league MVP in 2005, the first and only Terp to receive that honor.
“It was really cool to see that,” Beach said of Twellman’s MVP. “It’s always fun to follow along any Maryland player’s career, but especially for Taylor because I felt like I was there helping him grow up and learn the ropes a little bit. I still tell my kids about him today, just what type of competitor and goal-scorer he was.”
Unfortunately, in August 2008, Twellman suffered a severe concussion from a mid-air collision against Los Angeles Galaxy goalkeeper Steve Cronin. Due to recurring symptoms, the injury set his career back and forced his premature retirement in 2010.
Twellman didn’t let the setback stop him from making a massive impact in the soccer community— he quickly turned himself into one of ESPN’s leading media members and the network’s face of the MLS. He called the 2012, 2016, and 2020 European Championships and was ESPN’s lead analyst for the US matches in the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
In 2011, shortly after his retirement, Twellman created the ThinkTaylor foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on creating social change in the world of traumatic brain injuries. 
“One of the darkest days of my life has turned into one of the most fruitful things I can do as a human, and that’s educate and create social awareness,” Twellman said. 
In April 2021, the MLS and US Soccer implemented new concussion substitution rules, which Cirovski believes Twellman played a large part in making happen. 
“That’s transformational,” Cirovski said of the new rule. “He deserves an incredible amount of credit for his work in that area. I’m very proud of him for everything he’s done there.”
Twellman, who is currently finishing his 12th year at ESPN, loves his current career as an analyst. However, he’s equally as passionate about the University of Maryland and what he accomplished there on an individual and team level. 
But, for Twellman, those accomplishments fade in comparison to how proud he is of his work around concussion awareness.
“It’s amazing to be in the University of Maryland Hall of Fame,” Twellman said. “I will cherish that for the rest of my life. But the truth is when it’s all said and done, and people are asking, ‘what did Taylor do?’, it’s all going to come down to what I’ve done with the foundation and the concussions.” 
Twellman wouldn’t have it any other way.
“You never think about what people are going to remember you for when you’re playing, you’re thinking about winning and scoring goals,” Twellman said. “From the moment I started playing sports, I thought they were going to remember me for the batting average and the RBIs and the goals and the championships. That’s so far from the truth. They will remember me for changing and for creating social awareness around traumatic brain injuries in sports.”

Thanks for visiting !
The use of software that blocks ads hinders our ability to serve you the content you came here to enjoy.
We ask that you consider turning off your ad blocker so we can deliver you the best experience possible while you are here.
Thank you for your support!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *