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Hidden Gems: Meet Taylor Pilkington of Soccer Genome

Today we’d like to introduce you to Taylor Pilkington.

Hi Taylor, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My story begins on a Soccer field. Standing by myself at 13 years old with three old soccer balls, some cheap cones, and a soccer goal with no net. I remember standing in the middle of the field, looking at the empty parking lot to the field, and praying “someone…anyone…please show up today.” Every day I would walk a mile to the field, practice by myself, and then back home hoping that the next day there would be someone to train with.

Fast forward to my college years. Every night was a game night in some part of Wake County. The best soccer was always in the local Hispanic leagues. Late night indoor games and pick up till 1am in the morning in Wake Forest NC, Saturdays and Sundays playing in multiple outdoor leagues in Raleigh, Durham, and anywhere else that I could play. Some weekends I would play in three to four matches, finishing one game and driving across town to play for another team. These years were foundational to my emerging philosophy of soccer, coaching, and the importance of soccer as a social experience that brings all types of people together in friendship, competition, and mutual enjoyment of the Beautiful game.

During this time, a friend of mine approached me about starting a soccer coaching business that prioritized helping kids achieve their development goals through private and small group training as a supplement to their local soccer club practices. Since I was already running my own private training through college to make some extra cash, it was a no brainer decision: I was in. What came to be Soccer Genome started as an idea that no kid should have to train alone. That there should be a place where any kid, from any background, can have access to train and to improve; to walk through adversity and celebrate triumphs together with a community founded on a love for the game of Soccer. At Soccer Genome, we pass that love on to the next generation. That love runs deep. It’s in our DNA.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Just like any game of Soccer, there have been endless obstacles and challenges to overcome as a small business owner. When you are first getting started, there is self-doubts and fear of failure. There are endless excuses for why your idea won’t work and how it would be easier to stop dreaming and just go get a corporates job. Then there are the haters, the jealous ones, the ones who say that it will never work, to go get a real job, or that your idea isn’t really that unique or special. I don’t think these challenges are very unique to my experience, I don’t know a single small business owner who I would consider successful who hasn’t shared in these types of struggles. I think it demonstrates that you have to have the staying power to never quite, to be resilient, and to constantly find ways of challenging yourself to improve and willingness to adapt to your environment. Making it through 2020 was a perfect example of that, and I don’t think we would have made it through if we hadn’t already established a culture of problem-solving rather than excuse-making.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Soccer Genome LLC?
Soccer Genome is a supplemental soccer training organization. We specialize in tailored private coaching focused on player development. We train hundreds of kids every week ranging from five years old mini kickers to collegiate and professional athletes. Our holistic training environment varies from highly customized private training sessions to functional group training sessions to off season collegiate development teams. We coach the full spectrum of the player genome. We are best known for fostering in our players a deep love for the game of soccer. We believe our number 1 priority is that every kid who comes through our doors leaves wanting to come back for more. One of the best compliments we constantly receive is from our kids when they are told there is only 10 minutes left in our training sessions…”only 10?! We just got here!!” Time flies when you are having fun playing soccer. We want our brand to signify a promise. Our promise is that we will pass our love for soccer on to you. We love Soccer. We love coaching soccer. We will pass that love on to you.

Risk taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
Risks are easy to take when it is for a dream you believe in. Anything worth pursuing involves some measure of risk, if it were easy everyone would do it. Choosing to become a full-time coach and make a profession out of it was a big risk for me personally. I did not have blueprints to follow and had to carve out a new path. I passionately believe every kid deserves access to a quality coach; therefore I believe the risk was worth taking. My time would at least have been invested in helping players reach their goals even if our business had not become successful. In the small business world, there is no such thing as “no risk” you have to put yourself out there daily and constantly risk failure in pursuit of chasing your dream.

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