With just six girls returning from last year the team is going to have a much different look, but the good news is that with a massive influx of underclassmen the building process seems well under way.
“We might be young this season, but I feel we are definitely going in the right direction. It’s going to be a good season. I’m looking forward to it and so are the girls,” explained Walker.
“This season got off to a start I wasn’t quite expecting. It was interesting to see which returners came back and who didn’t. This is going to be a big growing experience for everyone involved, but I feel good about where we are at.”
One big blow to the Bearettes will be the loss of starting goalkeeper Lydia Brown, who will be participating in a “Virtual School,” which will not permit her to take the pitch this season.
Utility player Mikala Ard will move from the backfield to between the goalposts. While Ard played mostly defender last season she has experience in many different positions including keeper.
Striker Alexia Hubbard will still be charging the opposing net for the Bearettes, but she is one of a few carryovers from last season.
“It feels like this is basically a brand new team. We only had the six returning players. All the rest are mostly freshmen,” said Walker.
That made preseason preparation a must for the team. So, they loaded up and drove across town for Lee University’s preseason soccer camp.
“The girls are responding to the camp really well. Just in the last three games we have come a long way. It’s been a lot of fun to watch the girls come together.”
Bradley, along with District 5-AAA rivals Cleveland High School and Soddy-Daisy High School are using the camp as an opportunity to iron out some wrinkles and get a leg up on the Tennessee soccer scene.
“The girls still have some work to do just getting used to each other. I think that’s going to be the big thing. There is a lot of raw talent out there. We just have to get them accustomed to not playing as individuals but more as a team,” Walker expressed.
Another highlight for the team is the creation of a junior varsity squad to go along with the varsity. With more than 30 girls coming to soccer tryouts it will be the first time in Walker’s tenure that the school will have two squads.
“We are waiting until after the camp wraps up to name who makes what team, but it’s really exciting to have so many young players interested in the program,” she said.
Last season the Bearettes finished 6-6-1 and held a district record of 2-4.