Taglia reflects on time with men’s soccer

By Jacob Onak

With only three conference games left NIU men’s soccer will need victories in all three matches if it wants to ensure its goal of making the NCAA tournament.

The team will need to rely on the upper classmen of the squad in the remainder of the season and there is none more experienced than senior defender Rocco Taglia.

Coach Eric Luzzi said Taglia has become a physical force in the back.

“What you see is what you get with Rocco,” Luzzi said. “He’s physically solid, you look at Rocco and he’s a solidly built guy and that’s how he plays back there. He’s pretty physical as a center back but he’s also quite comfortable on the ball and he’s pretty good at passing out of the back with his left foot.”

In his career here at NIU, Taglia has started 50 matches for the Huskies, including 13 starts this season. He is a crucial part of the back four.

“I think over the time of being here I’ve turned into a very mature player,” Taglia said. “On the defensive side, I’d say that I’m a hard worker. [I] love to get stuck into a tackle, very physical and physical in the air.“

On the field, Taglia is one of the voices you hear the most. He is constantly organizing defensively and is a real senior leader on this Huskies squad.

Reflecting back on his career at NIU, Taglia said he has relished the time with his teammates.

“It’s been great, Taglia said. “It’s been nothing but a new and a great experience for me. We are such a close family and I mean, they are like my brothers. We get along very well. We like to hang out outside of the pitch, but when we are on the field it’s business and when we are off, we are trying to have a good time with each other.”

Along with being a strong physical force, Luzzi said Taglia’s knowledge of the game is a big strength.

“One of the best things about Rocco is his reading of the game is outstanding,” Luzzi said. “He does a fantastic job of reading where balls are going to be played into and he steps in front of those passes and cuts the ball off extremely well. When he does that he kind of gets us going on the counter attack.”

Like most Division I college players, Taglia will look to try and play professional soccer when his time at NIU is up.

“After graduation I’m thinking about testing the waters to play [professionally],” Taglia said. “[It has] always has been an aspiration of mine and I love it. [I] Love the game and its been nothing but fun for me since I’ve been here. So I think that I’m going to test the waters whether it’s MLS or over seas, one of those two and I hope that I can continue to play.”