The crowd roared as sophomore Linli Tu kicked off the second half of last Wednesday’s game with a banger against Spring Arbor University.
“It came in at a really clutch time; it was such a spectacular goal against a high-quality team which adds another level of excitement,” said senior Hannah Davis.
The game ended in a draw (2-2).
Aside from scoring the “banger” last Wednesday as Davis called it, Tu’s skills have enabled her to score opportunities as well.
Before coming to Taylor, Tu represented China at the 2014 Girl’s Youth Olympic Football Tournament in Nanjing, China. The team went against Mexico, Slovakia and Venezuela.
Tu and her team won 5-0 in the championship game against Venezuela resulting in a gold medal.
After their victory, coach Lu Yiliang thanked his team in an article for FIFA.
“I appreciate their efforts. In my two years of leading the team, the players have made progress and I’ve learned a lot too,” Lu said. “I’m grateful to these players for letting me learn so much [as a coach].”
When asked about what she learned from coach Lu, Tu said she learned persistence and to never give up.
Before coming to Taylor, Tu attended Beijing Normal University.
While she was there, Tu said her classes conflicted greatly with soccer. The conflict was such that she had to ask permission from her coach to attend classes.
Four years later, Tu joined Taylor University’s women’s soccer team in 2018.
“Today we welcome our final recruit for 2018, Linli Tu from the Chinese National Team who wants to deepen her relationship with Jesus,” said a Jan. 28, 2018 post on the team’s official Twitter account.
The team especially values and respects the fact that she left everything she knew to follow Jesus.
According to head coach Scott Stan, Tu came to know Christ while playing with the national youth team.
“She (Tu) was introduced to Christ through Gao Hong, the goalie that was scored on when the U.S. won the 1999 World Cup,” said Stan.
Stan later said that only Tu and her coach at the time were Christians.
Despite leaving her friends back home, Tu still remains in fairly close contact with Hong. According to Stan, Hong will be on campus from this Wednesday to next Thursday.
Tu has helped the Taylor women’s soccer team start the season strong.
Her four goals are tied for second on the team behind sophomore Erin Teevans. Tu also has two assists on the season and leads the team in shots.
The team is grateful to have someone with her level of experience. Davis said Tu brings a new perspective, a perspective that stems from a different culture.
Tu’s cultural background has enhanced the team’s cultural awareness through her philosophy of playing soccer which emphasizes individuality within the group rather than apart from the group.
“I would try to enable everyone to contribute as a team,” Tu said. “To bring out the best in them; I want them to see the beauty of unity as opposed to an individual approach.”
Through this approach she said God had been teaching her how to humble herself, be patient and grow as a team. Tu said this is a lesson she sometimes struggles with.
"I'm grateful that Coach is supportive of me and understands me, that's very important to me," said Tu.