Soccer player

Footballer Nyla Blue, daughter of Lady Vol Hooper, is committed to Tennessee

On social media, she linked a photo of herself celebrating as Lady Vol and Nyla celebrating in an engagement photo.

“I have a few pictures of me screaming when I was performing and being really passionate about it,” she said. “How cool, I’m going to take a picture of me like that, then of Nyla when she got engaged. A lot of parents will even say that seeing Nyla on the pitch, she’s like a lion. And I am very proud of it because that’s how I was on the pitch and that’s even how his father was on the pitch.

“Nyla is like a lion but when you get to know her she is like a lamb. She is very affectionate. She is very generous. She is very focused on others and soft-hearted. But don’t cross that line on that football field. I tell you. You’re going to see a different Nyla in a really good way. She’s not dirty or anything like that, but she’ll chase you off the ball. She will slip tackle. She will win the ball in the air. She is a direct competitor. There are no ands, ifs or buts about it.

Nyla is yet to finish her freshman year of high school and play another season of football as a senior next fall. She will spend this time working on her football skills.

“There are always things to improve – the little things and just trying to perfect them, it depends on my touch, my passing or just the key awareness on the pitch,” Nyla said. “These little things would harness my abilities and make me a better football player. Some of my strengths are winning balls and being able to move them up the field. I’m like the general of the field. I demand a lot of watch out and I’m a bit immobile or hard to drop the ball. I love the intimidating factor. It’s always so fun to play against other teams.

So, has she ever watched clips of her mom playing basketball?

“Here and there,” Nyla said. “It’s kind of a beast, I heard.”

The Blue family will repeat the recruiting process with Jayla Blue, a forward from the Class of 2026. The sisters have one more season to play together in high school.

Jayla Blue and Nyla Blue (Photo: Family Provided)

“At first it was a little hard to believe, ‘Oh my God, my little sister is playing with me,'” Nyla said. “But it was also a lot of fun to be able to go on this journey with her and to be able to play side by side with her. Even though we play opposite positions, I think it’s fun because whether it’s defensively or offensively, we are just dangerous and the other teams have to see that we are now two.

Kristen and Avery Blue are ready for a second recruitment process for Jayla after navigating the field with Nyla.

“I feel like we have, especially in the world of football, a lot more knowledge and wisdom with Jayla,” Kristen Blue said. “This whole thing with Nyla with every coach, they sat down, Jayla was there in the room, and Nyla was like, ‘I’m going to let you know immediately, coach. We’re a forfeit. And I’m like, ‘Oh , my God !’ So I don’t know. Who knows where Jayla will end up?

“She wants to play college ball with her sister and in the long run they want to play professionally. They want to play American football. Jayla, she said to me, ‘Mom, I’m not joining until my senior year.’ I’m like, ‘That’s a lie. You’re not going to make us relive that. You will commit as soon as you find out. But of course she was laughing, she’s our prankster.

Jayla Blue
Jayla Blue (Photo: Family Provided)

The little sister was eager for the big sister news about Tennessee to be made public in October.

“My parents are very excited for her, but I think I was definitely more excited,” Jayla said. “She got engaged on a Saturday, and I wanted to tell everyone but I couldn’t. I so wanted her to post about it. I was so excited.

“I said I wanted to play with my sister in college, but if that’s not where I need to be, then I don’t need to be with her in college, but it would be pretty good to play with her.”

Jayla is a tough player on the court and tried to stay in a game during the state playoffs despite having blood running down her face after inadvertently colliding with an opponent.

“I went for a header and headed the ball the first time to aim it at the other girl,” Jayla said. “And then I headed the ball again, and the ball went into the back of the net, so that was the good part. Another defender came to clear the ball with his head, but it hit my left side from my head instead of the balloon. It burst right under my eyebrow, and there was a bunch of blood squirting everywhere.

“I was trying to stop him so I could keep playing. But it wouldn’t stop, and I had to leave. But I came back in the second half.

With college, pro, and American football goals ahead of her daughter, Avery Blue, a former college athlete, had some advice for Nyla.

“UT is a launchpad, not a landing zone,” he said. “And for her, she felt like UT was the best place to launch her into her desired goal of playing professionally and potentially for the United States one day. And so what better launch pad have you had? You? Enjoy it. Right now, she’s not only representing Bearden High School, which is a phenomenal school to play and represent for, but she’s also representing UT now. Staying focused on her goals is going to be very important and the decisions that it takes must be centered on these objectives.

So far in the future, where does Nyla see herself when football is over?

“If I’m not playing football, I want to be either an engineer or a stay-at-home mom, but we’ll have to see those two things,” she said.

The sporty family goes hither and thither to accommodate Nyla and Jayla’s various activities, but with a kid committed to college – and now able to get around by car – the Blues are hoping to increase their bond with Lady Vols basketball.

“When we got back to Knoxville, Avery and I talked about it,” Kristen Blue said. “I want to try to get more involved with Lady Vols, and I’ve spoken with Kellie a few times. She has an open door policy. I’m super excited to see where Kellie takes this program. Obviously, with the loss from Coach (Pat) Summitt, these are just big shoes to fill and something we’ve always talked about is that there will never be another Coach Summitt Holly (Warlick) had big shoes to fill. fill in and here’s Kellie and the big thing with Kellie is Kellie is Kellie.

Pat Summitt
Pat Summitt receives flowers November 18, 2000 from Kristen Clement, Semeka Randall, Chamique Holdsclaw, her son Tyler, RB Summitt and Kyra Elzy to celebrate the coach’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. (Photo: Delores Delvin/The Tennessean, USA TODAY Sports)

“But what’s cool is playing under Coach Summitt, there are things and principles that Coach Summitt instilled in her, and you can see that as she tries to keep the tradition going and do it again turn the ship. I think she’s doing a phenomenal job, and I’m super excited to know where she’s taking these girls and there will probably be bumps in the road, but that’s part of the journey.

“I’m definitely going to be more involved, and I’m going to bring Nyla and Jayla and I want her around that culture and that atmosphere. I haven’t been very involved because we travel a lot and with me driving and I had to take the girls to practices every night and with a travel ball and things like that. But now Nyla drives thank the Lord. I have a little more free time.

“I was crying because my baby was driving. I can not believe it. But when she left, I was like, ‘Avery, this is great, we’re getting our lives back.’ ”

Kristen Blue played basketball with a lot of emotion and this passion now focuses on her family. So how does she react when she sees Nyla walking onto a football field wearing a Tennessee jersey for the first time?

“I will probably cry. That’s for sure. I’m crying right now,” she said. “My daughters laugh at me, ‘Mom, you’re always crying.’ I’m like, ‘Because I love you guys so much.’ Honestly, I’m sure every flood of emotion will run through my heart and brain. But it’s going to be more than a proud mom. I think with my family background and my husband’s family background, stepping into that college atmosphere and even getting a college degree was very rare.

“First of all, going to college is a huge accomplishment in itself, and it’s always been a prayer and a dream for my husband and I that our daughters can go to college let alone be a student-athlete. and Nyla walking down the court in a UT uniform. Again like the girls said I’m probably going to cry but I really think I’ll be just super proud of her, because I know she’ll be walking on the field by obviously representing the Lord first, she will represent the university very well and the Blue family very well.