Temple women’s soccer coaches adapt to recruiting restrictions

Nick Bochette isn’t allowed to travel to meet with potential recruits due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Freshman goalkeeper Taylor Vecchione punts the ball during Choate Rosemary Hall’s game against Phillips Academy Andover at Maguire North Field in Windsor, Connecticut, on Oct. 5, 2019. Due to online classes, Vecchione stayed at her home in Connecticut and has yet to come to campus to practice with the Temple women’s soccer team. | MICHAEL VECCHIONE / COURTESY

Normally in the fall, Temple University women’s soccer head coach Nick Bochette is planning for the recruiting season, which takes place throughout the spring and summer at local high school games and club tournaments worldwide. 

Instead, he’s preparing for a competitive spring season and a recruiting season all at once. 

The Owls’ season can begin as early as Feb. 3, The Temple News reported. 

“It’s going to be really difficult and hellish for our staff,” Bochette said. “But we’re going to do everything we can to be here for our team now, but also to keep an eye toward bringing other people in and moving forward.” 

The NCAA Football Oversight Committee instituted a recruiting dead period on March 13 and is recommending the NCAA dead period for all sports be extended to April 15, 2021.

The dead period made Bochette change his recruiting tactics and prevented some players already on the team from taking their campus visits this summer. 

The recommendation  is likely to be approved by the NCAA next week, CBS Sports reported. If approved, it will be the seventh time they’ve extended the dead period this year. 

During a dead period, Bochette and his staff are not allowed to watch recruits in person, talk to them face-to-face or invite them for an on campus visit. He’s instead relying on watching taped games and using Zoom to speak with recruits, he said. 

“We’ll get as creative as needed,” Bochette added. “Obviously we’re now relying on film a lot, which is more readily available now than it’s ever been, but it doesn’t make up for being there live and in person, getting to see the size and speed of recruits.” 

Instead of only watching film, Bochette would normally take close to two dozen trips to watch recruits play between January and April, he said. 

Bochette asked the team’s media department to create virtual tours of the team’s facilities for potential recruits that they can view through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions because he can’t be directly involved, he said. 

In a normal year, juniors in high school are able to start taking official or unofficial campus visits starting on Aug. 1, but the 2021 or 2022 recruiting class won’t be able to because of the extended dead period. 

Freshman goalkeeper Taylor Vecchione, a member of the 2020 recruiting class, hasn’t been to Main Campus yet or met the team and staff because her tour was canceled and she is currently living at home in Foxborough, Massachusetts, she said.  

“When looking at schools, not being able to come to campus was a downside, but I just had to take that risk due to the circumstance,” Vecchione added. 

Freshman defender Jillian Allgood committed prior to Bochette being hired. She planned to  have a second official visit in March once Bochette was hired, but it was canceled, and she didn’t get to meet him until the team’s preseason began in August, she said. 

“I’d talked to them on the phone, but I hadn’t met them in person before,” Allgood added. “I met the team when I went on my first official visit last September with the old coaching staff, but obviously it’s not the same team as it is right now.”

Regardless of the dead period’s effects on recruiting, Bochette is continuing to maintain the relationships he’s already created with 2021 and 2022 recruits, he said. 

“It’s going to be better off for them if they’re willing to wait a little longer to be able to do those visits and make it a complete recruiting process,” Bochette added.

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