“If you want to be good at one facet of your life, you have to be good at all others.”
Those are the words Craig Waibel told his players while on the University of Washington men’s soccer coaching staff told their players back in 2012-2013. In the locker room listening to Waibel’s speech was current Real Monarchs defender Taylor Peay.
“That’s the one thing I take away from school and my experiences there that I will never forget,” he said.
Peay’s soccer career started in Salt Lake City at Brighton High School. During his junior and senior year he spent his off-season’s training with the RSL Academy in Arizona. A two-time state title and four-year letter winner, his time with the academy and success on the high school pitch gave him a great stepping stone to his future. In addition to winning a SUM Cup, he also traveled to play in Spain.
“That’s an experience young players in this game don’t usually get,” Peay said.
With plenty of experience & exposure, Peay received a slew of college offers. After originally committing to New Mexico, a last-minute visit to Seattle and UW changed his mind.
“It was a no brainer,” said Peay. “The city has the Sounders and it was a great school with great coaches. That made it all worth it.”
For Peay, being a Husky was everything. In his time, he led them to their first NCAA tournament appearance in five years and realized the kind of person he wanted to be thanks to his coaches.
“My coaches played a huge part in my life,” said Peay. “They helped me become a man.”
Playing in all seventeen games in two out of his three seasons and logging the most minutes of any other defender on the pitch, the Portland Timbers drafted Peay 26th overall after his junior year. In the Rose City, he had the experience of being part of an MLS Cup team and playing a lot of minutes on the Timbers 2 USL team.
“The takeaways I had from that experience are something you can’t replace,” said Peay. “As a young player, I got to see a locker room where we were winning and a locker room where we weren’t winning as much. It was great to have that experience and see playing time on the USL team too.”
While he enjoyed his time in Portland, Peay wasn’t satisfied with his opportunities with the first team. In two years, he only appeared in 7 matches for the Timbers and he knew it was time for a change.
He sought a more comfortable, familiar place: coming home and playing for the team he’s loved since he was a kid.
“I’ve always wanted this to happen,” said Peay. “I always wanted to come back and when I was away, it was something that sat in the back of my mind.”
Not only was it an opportunity to come back to Utah and get more match time, Peay has started 5 out of the last 10 games, it was also a chance to be reunited with his old coach and mentor Craig Waibel, who now serves as General Manager for Real Salt Lake.
“Playing under his watch again, I couldn’t be happier,” said Peay. “He is someone who is always honest with me and for that, I have great respect for him. He knows the game and knows all the right people.”
Peay was able to help establish the winning culture he learned in Portland to Utah with the Monarchs. RSL’s second team just set the USL record with nine straight victories and currently have a 10 match unbeaten streak.
“Winning is what you need in order to keep developing,” said Peay. “Playing well on a winning team is also a great confidence builder for me and the organization.”
Peay hopes to be a mainstay within the RSL organization for many years to come, but for right now he’s just enjoying the ride as a Monarch.
“I’m enjoying every minute and you always have to enjoy what you do in life,” said Peay. “I just love coming to work and showing off everything we’ve put in this season.”