FULLERTON, Calif. - Mirin Fader of the Orange County Register profiled Titans midfielder Tala Haddad, exploring her journey to Cal State Fullerton soccer and how she has taken a prominent role on the team this season. Haddad currently leads the team in scoring while also playing left back for Fullerton.
By Mirin Fader | Click here to read the full story
Tala Haddad didn't think twice about her new role.
Senior left back Jazzmin Mancilla, who has played nearly every minute of every match in her career and is arguably the heart and soul of Cal State Fullerton's soccer team, suffered a season-ending torn anterior-cruciate ligament (knee) earlier this season.
Haddad, a 5-foot-5 junior midfielder who has never played defense before, was asked to fill in for Mancilla.
"She didn't back down," said sophomore midfielder Alba Barrios, Haddad's roommate. "She knew what she needed to do and she's stepped up."
"I don't know how she does it but she did it and we love her for it," Barrios said. "She never complained."
Haddad, who often sees a play two, three, four passes before it actually happens, has flourished in the position. She's scored two goals and two assists for the Titans (3-6 overall) — more than she has produced in each of the past two seasons on offense.
"I want to set an example," Haddad said, "that whether I have good days or bad days, that it doesn't matter where you get put —you should play your hardest and help the team win."