College Soccer News has ranked the men’s soccer recruiting class No. 20 in the nation.
The Owls beat out conference rivals Houston, UCF, Cincinnati, Memphis, Rutgers and SMU in the rank. Temple also beat out No. 7 Louisville on the list. One person coach David MacWilliams credits is his second-year assistant, Brian Clarhaut.
“Well, I think that’s great,” MacWilliams said of the ranking. “We’ve done a really good job. It shows the quality of players we’ve brought in. [Clarhaut] has come in and done a tremendous job in that.”
MacWilliams believes that for the players, it’s not always about playing for a school that is ranked, but feeling comfortable in the environment they are playing in.
“They liked the coaching staff and liked what we’re trying to do,” MacWilliams said. “They want to be part of something that we’re trying to build here and felt comfortable in school.”
Another element that has helped in recruiting is Temple’s move to the American Athletic Conference.
“I think all the guys want to play against the best competition,” senior midfielder Ryan Bradbury said. “The new conference lets us do that.”[blockquote who=”Ryan Bradbury” what=”senior midfielder”]We really try to keep the ball on the ground and play a better brand of soccer than a lot of other schools.[/blockquote]
“It definitely played a huge part during the decision,” MacWilliams said. “You have to sell the kids that they want to come to the school for education. For the second part, they want to play at the highest level and I think it had a huge impact.”
Temple’s recruiting class consists of eight freshmen and three transfer players. Three of the freshmen were ranked among the Top 100 high school players by Comcast SportsNet.
“I think it’s our style of play,” Bradbury said of what makes Temple an attractive destination. “We really try to keep the ball on the ground and play a better brand of soccer than a lot of other schools. Some teams like to just kick and run, and we like to keep the ball on the ground and be creative.”
With such a large amount of new players, it may take some time for Temple to become an elite ranked team.
“We’re obviously a young team, and it’s going to take a while,” MacWilliams said. “We’re in a very good conference, and if we can hold our own in this conference, then I think that’ll be pretty good. We’re obviously trying to shoot for making an impact this year and working hard to improve every game.”
Hoon Jin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.