Family atmosphere represents both present and future for defending state champs


Photo courtesy of Tammy Kregel

Senior Becca Roth (left) and freshman Tyler Roth (right) both play as midfielders for Bearden.

The Lady Bulldogs have dominated soccer in Tennessee over the past two seasons – winning and recently becoming the No. 1 ranked team in the nation by the United Soccer Coaches. 

One of the many benefits that has strengthened the 2022 team is the family-like atmosphere – literally.

This year’s Lady Bulldogs team contains multiple sets of sisters: Nyla and Jayla Blue, Peyton and Lauren Huber, Maci and Cami Ritzman, and Becca and Tyler Roth. 

¨You get a lot of different or similar players in terms of how they play, and you can see that with the Roths, especially being two sisters that play the same position (midfield), so it makes it easier as a coach to interchange them,” Coach Ryan Radcliffe said. ¨It also builds them for the future, in the case of Jayla and Tyler being freshmen, (with) them coming in and getting them to know the culture we have, and them having older sisters.¨

It’s safe to say it’s working.

The defending state champs are unbeaten in 2022, and they’ll look to protect their perfect start to the season when they host Hardin Valley on Thursday night and fellow unbeaten West on Tuesday. Both games kickoff at 7.

Jayla Blue and Nyla Blue are a freshman and junior duo that both start for varsity. Jayla is an outside forward, and Nyla is a defensive midfielder. Jayla has had a breakout season as a freshman as she is one of the top-scorers on the varsity field. 

These sisters have a tight bond and speak highly of each other. Additionally, the Blues complement each other well because of their different positions, making their individual skills and style of play stand out.

Having a sibling on the team also leads to the occasional tiff.

“There’s some competition,” Nyla said. “We definitely have some ups and downs at practices, but we of course always end up making up, and it pushes us to be better players and better people.”

Added Jayla: “I know she’s getting recruited by a bunch of different colleges because she’s a junior now and she can talk to different colleges, so I know they’re going to come to the games, so I know they can be watching other players too.”

Senior Becca Roth and her freshman sister Tyler both play midfield, and although Becca will leave next season, Bearden soccer will be able to continue the family dynamic with her younger sister to fill in her position. 

“We challenge each other, and it’s another player on the field that’s gonna give me a run for my money,” Becca said. “It’s better having someone out there who gets you and who gets what’s going on at home. 

“And it’s also fun because my friends make fun of her like I make fun of her. It’s a good time.”