Temple attacker delays career for chance at tournament

Fifth-year attacker Meghan Hoffman used her extra year of eligibility and delayed her potential career in law enforcement one year.

Fifth-year attacker Meghan Hoffman cradles the ball during the Owls’ game against St. Joseph’s University at Howarth Field on March 13. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

After Temple University suspended spring sports competitions last year, just nine games into Meghan Hoffman’s senior season, her and nine teammates’ collegiate careers were ended for the foreseeable future. 

Yet, due to the NCAA granting an extra year of eligibility, Hoffman then extended her time on the field and paused her other career interest: law enforcement.

Hoffman was set to enter the Philadelphia Police Academy and become a police officer in July 2020, after her graduation. But when the NCAA approved an extra year of eligibility for all spring athletes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hoffman returned for the 2021 season and delayed her law enforcement career one year to help lead the Owls to their current 8-3 overall record while pursuing a potential NCAA tournament bid.

Hoffman was worried about coming back to Temple because she thought she was ending her chances to become a police officer, a job she had lined up for years. She changed her mind about leaving for the academy after talking with her parents, head coach Bonnie Rosen and her employer, who told her she could still enter the academy after the 2021 season. 

“They were understanding, I just pushed it off a year,” Hoffman said. “I still have the same job starting in July this summer that I had last summer, so it worked out well.”

Hoffman is hoping she can spend a few years working in local law enforcement before making the jump to federal law enforcement, which is her ultimate goal when she leaves Temple, she said. 

Still, by staying an extra year, she wanted to help Temple reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008, she added.

Rosen was happy Hoffman returned because of her impact on the field, Rosen said. 

“We had a lot of those conversations along the way, but she had unfinished business in the end,” Rosen added. “You know, she wanted to accomplish something more for herself. She wanted to accomplish something more with the program.”

Hoffman’s 2020 senior class included 10 players, but only Hoffman and Kara Nakrasius, a fifth-year defender, used the extra year of eligibility and returned for the 2021 season. 

Hoffman and Nakrasius grew close toward the end of their career because they have the same goal of finishing this season together with an NCAA tournament bid, Nakrasius said. 

Temple is currently 4-2 in American Conference play, which is third in the conference.  

“It is definitely so important to us,” Nakrasius said. “We always talk about how culture and family and togetherness on the field is so important for the whole team, not just us two.”

Hoffman, Nakrasius and the rest of the team strengthened their NCAA tournament resume when they defeated the Towson University Tigers, who were ranked No. 11 at the time, 12-8 on March 10. Hoffman scored a career-high five goals, leading the Owls to victory. 

“She definitely came out guns blazing,” Nakrasius said. “It’s awesome to see that we were playing a ranked team and seeing [Hoffman] take that and put it on her back and really take the team forward and have us in a good position for the rest of the game.”

Hoffman leads Temple in total points with 46, ranks first in assists with 28 and ranks third in goals with 18.

Hoffman is an aggressive player on the field and sets the tone for the team even though she doesn’t view herself as a vocal captain. 

“I think what you saw out of [Hoffman] in her performance is this just love of playing the game, you know,” Rosen said. “She is enjoying the matchups that come up against her. You know, people are keying in on her, and that excites her even more.”

Right now, Hoffman’s sole focus is on making the NCAA tournament. 

“A goal that we’ve always had for my senior class was to win our conference and get to the tournament,” Hoffman said. “This year, it’s completely flipped around and it’s definitely looked like a brighter future this year.”

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