Her whole life, Natalie Tavana has punched above her weight.
As a toddler, there were backyard games with her brother, Ben, and her sister, Christina. Then came the Youth Training League days at Oakwood, where she was a 5-year-old up against 8-year-olds. And now there’s the Development Academy, where this 14-year-old midfielder thrives for Oakwood’s U-17 team.
Tavana has, in short, always had to fight to earn her keep, no matter how many inches or pounds her opponents had on her.
“Her weak point was heading the ball, so we’d go out in the yard and I would peg balls at her and make her track down balls,” said Ben, 27, who played at UMass Lowell. “We’re always telling her to get tougher, get tougher. She’s grown into that and holds her own.”