Temple women’s soccer ready for long preparation period after season postponement

Head Coach Nick Bochette and the Temple Women’s Soccer team are just rolling with the punches after The American Athletic Conference announced Tuesday the postponement of the soccer and volleyball seasons to the Spring of 2021.

“Obviously we are very disappointed to not be pointing at competition right now, but the truth of the matter is the safety of our student athletes, and the well-being of our student athletes, has got to come first,” Bochette said.

The main motivation behind the conference’s decision to postpone until the spring is to give all of it’s teams the opportunity to compete for NCAA tournaments and championships. The NCAA announced on Aug. 13 that there will be no fall sports championships in 2020.

“Obviously in our season we always want to have goals, and things like that, and one of the most default goals we’ll always have is the NCAA tournament,” Bochette said. “So when that got pushed to the spring, I think it did refrain things a lot for us, and now we get to look to the fall as a time for development.”

In the meantime, the team has a whole extra semester than normal to prepare for their season. The NCAA normally gives teams a two week to sixteen day preseason before starting games. Bochette added  that that timeline is “rather quick. This year, we are actually getting a lot more time to prepare.”

The extra preparation period will give the eleven incoming student athletes the time they missed in the past spring semester to build relationships with their returning teammates.

Bochette, who was hired on Jan. 6th and in his first year as head coach, is also benefiting personally from the delay. With team operations during the spring and summer being interrupted by the pandemic, he has had very little time to build relationships with his players and implement his coaching schemes.

“I met Nick for probably a month, and then we went on zoom,” says senior midfielder and captain Julia Dolan. “We don’t really know our coaching staff that well on the field and off the field. Having all of this time in the fall, and then the preseason in the spring, that will allow us to build as a team, connect with the coaches, and also allow people to come back from injuries.”

“There is a whole lot of education that has to go on, there is a whole lot of trust to be built up with systems, certain schemes, certain tactics and things like that,” Bochette said. “These are things that generally do take time to build, when you have a brand new group and a brand new coaching staff. The day-to-day might look similar, but for the most part we are going to try to use this time that we don’t normally have to create a more comprehensive team going forward.”

For a team with a first year head coach and eleven new student athletes, navigating the uncertainty of the pandemic and the rapidly changing plans of the NCAA and AAC has been difficult and discouraging.

“Getting back into soccer was definitely a challenge for a lot of us,” Dolan said. “But now that we were a month into everything, and then hearing the news two days ago that our season is pushed to the spring was kind of a let down.”

After their initial disappointment, the team is taking a positive attitude towards competing in the spring.

“We came to practice the next day, we worked hard, and like Nick said we are just going to keep showing up and doing the work,” Dolan said.

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