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Jodie Taylor has completed her second season playing for Oregon State University and provided a good return for her side, despite once again having to battle back from a serious injury.
The former Tranmere Rovers and England under-19 striker enjoyed an excellent first campaign, being selected in the PAC-10 Select Team for the season as well as capturing the award for Freshman of the Year. However, her preparations for the new season were greatly disrupted.
"I broke my fibula in March," Jodie told Women's Soccer Scene. "I had previously broken my other leg when playing for Tranmere and it was frustrating but it could have been worse, as it could have happened during the season."
Jodie battled back to full fitness and was soon at her goalscoring best once again. "It was still a pretty successful year for me," she smiles, "I was top scorer in the team with ten goals and made the PAC-10 Select Team once again.
"Things are going well and we had a good season, doing better than last year. We just missed out on reaching the Finals - we are disappointed that we didn't make the tournament but we deserved to. It was really close and we had one of the stronger competitions to play in, but we improved so much from last year and plans are in line to improve again. We know we can do better next season."
Jodie has been impressed by the level of play but offers interesting opinions when compares the USA universities to football back home. "It's a good standard, they would give most Premier League teams a good game," she says. "The game is faster over here, and the players are fitter and stronger as they train every day. However technically, they are not quite as good as the top teams in England.
"The training and rehab is excellent here, and the facilities are amazing. I recently got my Major in Psychology and I am really enjoying it."
The season in the USA has now come to an end as does not resume until next August, but Jodie has set her sights on more football, saying: "I'll be working hard off season to get in good shape for next year, and I am hoping to play for a team in the W-League during the summer."
In the meantime, Jodie came back to her Birkenhead home for Christmas and watched her old club Tranmere beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 in the Premier League. "I'm pleased to see Tranmere doing well," she admits. "They're my old club but I still support them. The core of the team is still there, I am still good friends with most of the girls and it was great to catch up with them again. I hope they can get back up to the top flight very soon."
Despite playing her football in America, Jodie has not been forgotten by her country. "I was called up twice for training camps for the England under-21s and was contacted by Brent Hills," she reveals. "However I couldn't go for the first one as I was injured and last time I was unable to come back as I was playing for my university and trying to help them qualify for the Finals. Hopefully I can get another chance to come back to the next training camp, if I am selected.
"I want to keep playing at the highest level I can. I shall be playing for Oregon for the next two years and then, if the chance ever came again, I would love to play professionally. But I would definitely like to come back and play in England, if the opportunity arose then."
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