Ryan grad Tayah Naudascher making plays for Bloomsburg University

After graduating Ryan, Naudascher became a starter at Bloomsburg her freshman year.

Tayah Naudascher is ready to take on a leadership role at Bloomsburg this year. Photo: BLOOMSBURG UNIVERSITY

For the past two weeks, Tayah Naudascher has had off from playing soccer.

So to pass the time, she’s playing soccer.

Naudascher, a 2016 graduate of Archbishop Ryan High School, started at defensive midfield for the Bloomsburg University women’s soccer team.

The Port Richmond resident has spent the past two weeks helping her former school prepare for the future by working with the Ryan boys and girls soccer teams.

“I’m excited to be back because I love the school and I love the coaches,” said Naudascher, who has served as an instructor at Ryan’s summer soccer camps. “Coach (Ryan) Haney and Coach (Jon) Geist did so much for me. We ran a lot, they worked us really hard, but I think that’s why we were so good. They wanted what’s best for us.”

Naudascher experienced a lot of good times while playing for the Ragdolls. Every year she was there ended with the Ragdolls winning the Catholic League and city championships.

She played a key role in all of them, starting all four years on defense.

Naudascher is just as good in college.

She became a starter early on in her freshman year and improved every game.

Getting on the field so early in her college career wasn’t easy, but she believes the help of the more experienced Huskies allowed her to quickly get acclimated to the college game.

“Whenever you start something new, you have nerves,” Naudascher said. “But once you go out and play a little, you settle down. Then it’s just playing soccer.”

Her teammates’ help played a big role, but it helped that she was willing to put in the work to get better.

It also helped that she’s able to have fun.

Not only is Naudascher at Bloomsburg, but so is her former Ragdoll teammate, Erin McIntyre.

The pair were roommates last year and are planning to live together in an apartment with other teammates.

“It’s great when you have a friend like that, but we didn’t pick the school because of that,” Naudascher said. “Our parents knew we were going to the same school, but they didn’t tell us until we found out from talking to each other. I was so happy when I found out we were going to be going to the same school because we’ve been playing together forever.”

Last year, both Ragdolls were able to quickly adjust to college soccer and because of that they both saw key minutes.

In fact, the Huskies had a very young team last year, so that means last year’s growing pains could help 2017 turn into a memorable season.

And Naudascher is ready to take the next step, not just with her game, but by being a strong leader.

“Our defense is kind of young, and we have some great players coming in,” Naudascher said. “I’ll try to lead, by example and by helping girls who are just starting. That was why I was able to do well, so you have to do that for the next class.”

Another thing Naudascher learned during her freshman season was how to handle disappointment.

Late in the year, she suffered an ankle injury that forced her to wear a protective boot. It also meant she couldn’t play in the Huskies’ final game of the season, a loss to Kutztown in the quarterfinals of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference playoffs.

Losing was hard, but not being able to play in a loss was even worse.

“I hated it, my trainer said I could warm up and if I felt good, I could play, but I couldn’t,” Naudascher said. “I was there, just watching. I wanted to be out there, I didn’t want to be in a boot. Not being able to play was bad. I had an injury during high school, and I missed some scrimmages, but I never missed a Catholic League game, so that was new for me. I didn’t like it.”

The good news is she’s about a month away from playing in a game, and the injury is far behind her.

This summer, while she’s back in the area, she’s staying in shape and working to make some extra cash. Her job helps her with the whole staying-in-shape thing.

“I’m a waitress at McGerk’s and it is a lot of running around,” Naudascher said. “I run so much with soccer but sometimes I’ll work a double shift there and my legs get so tired. It’s a different kind of running. I’m just trying to get some money to help out with things at school, and it’s a great job because my friend’s family owns it.”

Now she’s just trying to do whatever she can to make sure Bloomsburg owns a strong 2017 season.

“I think we’re going to be really good, we’re ready,” Naudascher said. “Last year was good and this year can be better.” ••