Hawaiian, Kau’Inohea Taylor, joined Moneyfields this summer from their Hampshire neighbours Eastleigh. I have been able to catch up with KT, as she is known to her friends and teammates, to find out how she has been settling into life at the newly promoted National League Division One South West side.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Aloha mai kākou! My name is Kau’inohea Taylor, I come from Kamuela, Hawaii on the north side of Hawaii island. I studied and competed in soccer (football) and track & field (athletics) at Baylor University in Texas, then continued on at Solent University in Southampton.
I currently, and proudly, play striker for Moneyfields FC. The team I’ve grown up supporting is Manchester United.
Who was your biggest footballing inspiration while growing up?
My biggest football inspiration was fluid and always changing; usually a United player that was in form. I’ve definitely tried to draw elements into my game modelled from players like Ibrahimović, Rooney, RVP, Scholes, list goes on.
The only female footballer I could really relate to growing up was Natasha Kai; a Hawaiian born striker that went on to a have a great career, she helped make my dreams feel realistic.
Could you tell me about your experience at youth football?
Growing up, I didn’t have much of an experience with youth football. Where I come from can only offer so much as far as competition and leagues go. I grew up a multi- sport athlete playing volleyball, baseball, soccer, running cross country, and track and field. There weren’t opportunities to specialize young and train hard toward one sport year round, I played a different sport every season—meaning I only played football three months out of the year.
The first proper club I played for was Eastleigh Ladies FC last year; before that I played only for whatever school/university I was attending at the time. I’ve played every position except defense, been all through the midfield and front line, as well as in goal, however, I will always prefer playing striker.
How was life living in Hawaii?
Life in Hawaii for me is incredible. My entire support system and everything I’m familiar with is there. It’s a slow way of life and isn’t for everybody, but having been born and raised there, I’m bias in saying it’s perfect.
What brought you over to the England?
I found myself in England because of an opportunity that fell into my lap. After not having touched the ball in years, Solent University gifted me an opportunity to pick up the boots again and play as well as continue my education at their institution. The minute the offer came in, it was a no brainer.
Your Instagram account is heavily stacked with photos of beautiful coastlines and stunning blue seas. Was being near the coast an important factor towards relocating to England?
Being near the coast here in England has played a massive factor in why I’ve decided to stay another year, however, it was just luck initially when discussing opportunities with Solent. Having been here a year and had a chance to explore other parts of England, I continue to feel very blessed to have landed where I have.
What are your memories of playing against Moneyfields as an Eastleigh player?
My memories of being an Eastleigh player playing against Moneyfields are interesting. I don’t remember touching the ball much as the striker because Moneyfields dominated the game pretty much from kick off of every match. That being said, my unwavering feelings towards Moneyfields since the first time playing them has been, ‘I want to play for them’.
What have been your first impressions of Moneyfields since you signed?
So much quality. That’s been the overwhelming thought since signing for Moneyfields for me.
Has it helped you settle in having your former Eastleigh teammate, Lucy Nightingale, alongside you?
Lucy is the best. I don’t think my transition into anything, even when I first arrived in England, would have been as seamless and enjoyable without her. From a football perspective, being able to go to a new club with a teammate who knows my game (and can also drive me to training) has been pivotal. She’s an asset to the team as well as my life here.
It has only been a short time for you at Moneyfields but what influence has Moneyfields boss, Karl Watson, had on your game so far?
Karl Watson is a top manager. What he expects and demands of us as a group is why we are able to have the successes that we do. I think Karl recruits, trains, and competes with the ‘Moneyfields ID’ always on his mind and in doing that he creates and holds a standard for the team and the club that has inevitable success.
I’m grateful to Karl for taking a chance on me and to him as well as his staff for buying into me as a player and continuing to help me grow and progress my game.
The club are hugely supportive of the young players within the club. How important for you is that there is a strong link forged between the first team, reserves and youth teams?
The link between younger teams, the reserves, and the first team is crucial. All teams together add to the depth of Moneyfields as a club and build on the strength of the badge. Seeing younger players and aspiring girls at our matches reminds us why what we’re doing is important.