By: Hunter Tickel
In a year of firsts for Chicago Mustangs forward Taylor Bond; one thing is clear — he has arrived as an elite player in the MASL.
Few could have envisioned Bond transitioning from the outdoor game to indoor so seamlessly.
After playing club ball in the youth ranks with local club Campton United in St. Charles, he bounced around. He played for the Bridges FC development program in Chicago, won three titles with the Chicago Fire PDL team and spent six months in Sweden playing for Sandviken IF, a club established in 1918, as well as playing on the U.S. national futsal team.
“I want thank Keith Tozer national futsal coach and assistant Mark Litton for my development,” Bond says. “Playing in Europe is a different level with games in Sweden. They play a beautiful game of soccer. I learned a lot about build-up play.”
Then, three years ago he decided to try out the indoor game with the Mustangs, he currently plays outdoor in the offseason with Chicago based Croatian club Adria.
“I was looking up to defender Luis “Peewee” Ortega, forward Efrain “Wilo” Martinez and defender Ephraim Beard,” he says. “They had the experience in the game, and took me under their wings and taught me a lot. I got better as they showed more confidence in me.”
In all three seasons, there was steady improvement. In 2014-15 he made 16 appearances, including playoffs tallying 16 points. In his second season he played in 20 games and had 26 points.
Then came his career season this year. He punished MASL backlines with 40 goals and 14 assists while playing in every game.
“I have never seen such a dedicated person, getting to practice and staying late,” Chicago Mustangs CEO Armando Gamboa says. “He worked a lot in the offseason. He became a faster player. He worked a lot on his skill and agility.”
The first-year full-time captain was named to the second team all-MASL team after the promising year, but remains hungry.
“I’m just getting used to the indoor game after playing outside,” Bond says. “It’s a privilege to be named to the second team. I feel like I could have done better. It always an honor to get an individual award but I’m after the trophy, the Ron Newman Cup.”
Beard has seen the growth in Bond’s game that resulted in earning the league accolade.
“I’m stoked for Taylor, I’m not surprised he is a hard worker.” Beard says. “He has been improving his touch and been lethal around the goal. I can’t wait to have him back next year, because he is getting better and better.”
Beard, who like Bond, grew up in the suburbs, thinks that Bond is giving local rising stars a blueprint to the success in the MASL.
“I think there is a lot of talent available here,” Beard says. “There is constant time to improve your game. Taylor takes advantage of that. There is opportunity for others, but he is paving the way.”
Founded in 2012, the Chicago Mustangs compete in the MASL. The Mustangs were the 2014 Ron Newman Cup Champions and 2014 U.S. Open Minifutbol Champions. For tickets visit chicagomustangspro.com, like them on Facebook facebook.com/ChicagoMustangs and follow them on Twitter @MustangsSoccer.