Temple University women’s soccer knew they had holes to fill after graduates Julia Dolan and Emma Wilkins left the program, leaving the Owls with very little experience at the midfield position.
One of the new faces brought in this offseason is graduate midfielder Erin Theiller, who spent her undergraduate soccer career at Binghamton University, and is now using her extra year of eligibility to play at Temple to strengthen their defensive back line.
Theiller’s arrival has paid immediate dividends for the Owls so far this season, starting in five of Temple’s six games and scoring their first goal of the season, which came during the team’s home opener against the University of Pennsylvania.
She is one of four Owls who have scored a goal this season, joining junior forwards Emily Kavanaugh and Hailey Gutowski and sophomore forward Milana D’Ambra.
Theiller is also one of the most active players on the field for head coach Nick Bochette’s team this season, playing a total of 510 minutes across the team’s first six games.
Out of five upperclassmen, Theiller is in the Owls’ regular starting lineup and, with her veteran presence on the field, the younger players could learn from her during Theiller’s final season of collegiate soccer.
She provides much needed experience and is calm with the ball, said sophomore defender Róisín McGovern.
“We did lose a great senior class from last year, but I think we gained new and exciting players, like [Theiller],” McGovern said. “She is really easy to play with and she’s really good with her feet so I am excited to play with her.”
Temple took on Binghamton on Aug. 29, and Theiller admitted it was difficult to play against her team after representing the Bearcats for the past four years. But she was grateful to talk with her former coach and teammates after the game, she said.
“Everything was in good spirits and good fun,” Theiller added. “I wouldn’t call it trash talk but I got a couple of good jabs in there.”
Bochette was familiar with Theiller and her skill set before she transferred into the Owls program. During his time as coach at the University at Albany in 2017, Bochette tried to recruit Theiller out of high school to play for Albany, he said.
During her senior year at John Jay East Fishkill High School, Theiller was a member of the second all-state team in New York, a prestigious award given to the best players at each position in their respective state.
Theiller was a two- time selection to the America East All-Conference Academic Team while at Binghamton. She was also inducted to the National College Athlete Honor Society in her sophomore year.
“[Theiller] is someone who we knew would be a mature and capable player from minute one,” Bochette said. “She has done a great job so far, and it is never easy coming to a new school for your fifth year.”
After graduating with a neuroscience degree at Binghamton University, Temple’s Neuromotor Science program led Theiller to Philadelphia, she said.
Theiller has never attended a city school and believes Philadelphia will provide her with a different change of pace than what she is used to, she said.
“There were definitely a lot of factors that led to my decision to come to Temple,” Theiller said. “I think first and foremost would definitely be academics.”
Binghamton women’s soccer head coach Neel Bhattacharjee helped Theiller get in touch with Bochette during the offseason and everything started to fall into place, Theiller said.
During her four-year career at Binghamton, Theiller started in 61 games for the Bearcats, earning two all-conference team selections and was selected to the America East All-Championship Team her senior year.
The Owls’ main goal this season is to win as many conference games as possible and ultimately get back into the American Athletic Conference tournament, said Bochette. Theiller will attempt to leave her mark in Temple’s program during her final year with the team.
“I am always hoping to beat anyone I step on the field against,” Theiller said.