Top-ranked girls soccer benefiting from wealth of college-level talent


Tammy Kregel

Becca Roth (left) and Brinley Murphy (right) are just two of many future college soccer players on Bearden’s roster.

Playing a sport after high school on a Division 1 team is a dream for many, but it is accomplished by a few.

Bearden’s girls soccer team, though, is lucky in that case because the Lady Bulldogs have a number of prospects and recruits.

The Lady Bulldogs are still ranked No. 1 in the country coming off their 3-0 win over previously unbeaten West on Tuesday. They play Maryville at 7 on Thursday.

Senior Brinley Murphy, Tennessee Gatorade girls’ soccer Player of the Year, has gone through the many steps and restrictions of the recruiting process, eventually committing to South Carolina. 

The NCAA implemented a rule for women’s soccer during Murphy’s 8th grade year stating, “almost all forms of contact are allowed starting June 15 after an athlete’s sophomore year including verbal offers, emails, calls, texts and recruiting letters.” This put a restraint on Murphy because she had been getting heavily recruited prior to the new rule. 

“I was talking to SEC and ACC schools, and my connections with colleges were basically cut off overnight,” said Murphy, whose hat trick Tuesday night moved her into a tie for second all-time on the Bearden scoring list. “When it opened back up again after sophomore year, my communications continued, and I started to narrow my options down.” 

Murphy was a prospect of many colleges but pared her options to three: Georgia, Princeton, and South Carolina. 

“South Carolina just had the most home-like feeling and was the best option for me,” Murphy said. 

Senior Becca Roth, like Murphy, also dealt with the NCAA rules throughout her college recruitment process when schools began to reach out. She finally settled on Western Kentucky.

“I had offers from some Alabama schools, I was in communication with Western Carolina, I had exchanged emails with LSU, and talked to other schools like MTSU,” Roth said. “Personally, I wanted to go to a school where I felt I could fit in best.” 

Roth had colleges watching and talking to her all throughout the 2021-22 season. “Your junior year is by far the biggest recruiting year for girls soccer,” Roth said. 

In addition to Roth and Murphy, senior keeper Peyton Huber has committed to play at Liberty.

The Lady Bulldogs also have a number of potential underclassman recruits, including junior Alivia Stott, who can play as either a fullback or more advanced on the wing.

“It’s hard to understand where you’re at in your process, but the thing to remember is that there is a college out there for everybody,” Stott said. “It’s just finding your worth and finding the one that is right for you.” 

Aside from being fantastic athletes, these girls are stellar students who always strive to do their best. 

“No off days,” Murphy said. “I know it sounds cliche, but every day you have to be doing something to make yourself better.

“If you aren’t doing it, you have to know someone else is.”