I’d say the same for basketball recruiting when it comes to age/year. If you have a star player at a position as a Senior, you need to have a Freshman or incoming Freshman ready to go, as well as transfers etc…to take over when that one leaves. It’s not a surprise as Puricelli will be either a Senior or will have graduated when the next 4 year type of Keeper starts at SLU. They are looking at many 2023 and 2024 Keepers. It isn’t unusual. Many are from out of town. Although there are a couple of very good local ones too. It comes down, to evaluating, mutual interest, building a relationship, and closing. You need all of those things at every position.
For now SLU has Puricelli, Phelps, and, Ellis from KC, and that is a good mix for a while.
With recruiting, SLU leaves no stone unturned. They work inside out. They have built relationships in key markets amongst various programs. They target specific players early, and they gauge mutual interest. It isn’t a super wide net. Some kids want a better conference, a bigger school, different atmosphere, or want to go away, all kinds of things. Many will continue want and do that forever. That’s okay. Some others have more of an initial interest in SLU, and/or an openness to SLU, locally, regionally, nationally. That allows SLU to better focus their time and resources on those players. There are no must have one player(s). You can find and get another, especially if you win, are good at evaluating and building relationships, etc…There are also some players where you have to wait and see if they develop enough to offer as well, it they aren’t quite at that level yet.
One of top 2023 targets, was named a State Forward of the Year as a Sophomore. She scored the game winner for her U16 club team in Florida yesterday, in their playoffs. SLU has built a long term mutual relationship, identified and evaluated and all of those things mentioned above, getting in early. There’s competition, but, SLU is in very good position. We’ll see. She also has a few pretty good teammates with too, as their team is one of the better in their age group. These are Larson, Paloucek, etc type of players and recruits. There are some players considering SLU nowadays that would not have done so years ago.
SLU doesn’t have to get all of the top local players or many or most. But they need to be competitive, get some, and they are doing that more and more. They will never get them all. And, that’s okay. Part of recruiting is taking a good but lesser recruited player for various reasons, and developing them to be as good and better than some of those more highly recruited players. That’s fun too. SLU has done that. Madelyn Smith, Emily Gaebe, etc…can play the game at a high level.
And, some years have more top players than others or more depth or more this or that. The same can be said for club or high school teams.
You mentioned some players. Many of them happen to play on the same U18/U19 club team. It’s a pretty stacked team. Their U15’s are also pretty stacked. SLU has a commit from one of their U17 players, perhaps not as good of a team, but still good, and, with recruiting, it’s about finding an individual player regardless of their team. Anyway, that U18/19 team has zero SLU commits. But SLU is getting a few other local players that can play from elsewhere in that recruiting class. SLU will do just fine.
One local 2023 SLU recruiting target, perhaps an under recruited player, keeps scoring big goals in big games, including high school, and club ball this summer. We’ll see how that develops.
For me, there is always value analyzing all of the commits, how did they come about, even if they weren’t to SLU. Some are high level recruits. Some are over recruited. And, some are under recruited. And how do they compare with others out there Nationally? So, using your example, The U18/19 SLSG ECNL team made the Quarterfinals in the ECNL National Championship. (They fell 3-2 to Charlotte.) They defeated the top seed SoCal Blues, one of the country’s top club teams. Here’s a list of some of the school’s involved in the game:
SLSG: Oklahoma St., South Carolina, Wisconsin (2), Mississippi St. (2), Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Mizzou. SIUE, and several others. They were missing their North Carolina and Clemson commits.
SoCal Blues: Santa Clara, Cal, Oregon, UCLA, Washington, TCU, Georgetown, Arkansas, Penn St. Colorado, USC, Washington St., BYU, Pepperdine, St. Mary’s, UCSB, USF, etc…
The game was a hard fought, physical 1-1 draw. SLSG won in the 11th round of PK’s.
This was one of their goals, an assist from the current Missouri State Gatorade Player of the Year, (Rylee Howard, Wisconsin) to the previous Missouri State Gatorade Player of the year. (Grace Bindbeutel, Oklahoma State) (It’s worth a look. It’s a really nice goal)
The point is these two are some of those in that elite level Power 5/Big East recruiting category. SLU is getting/mixing in more of these types of players. It requires getting in early, gauging mutual interest before some of those big schools get in there. Then it’s a battle. SLU has been putting in a lot of work for a lot of years to get to this point. Progress has been made and is still being made. But many will still go elsewhere. That’s okay. Good for them. Good luck to them. It still helps SLU when the local areas have high level recruits, high level teams annually. And, as SLU has shown, a few might return as well. SLU will continue to go into other geographies and get players from more and more places as well.
I wish the A-10 could develop an East Coast version of the WCC in Women’s Soccer. There’s plenty of talent in the recruiting regions in the A-10. The league has not been helpful enough from a program standpoint, administrative standpoint etc…as previously mentioned, SLU has a profile that better fits the Big East in Women’s soccer. But they are where they are, and they can be a top 20 program regardless of league. It’s just another challenge.
Recruiting is a mix. I often go back to the Hannah Friedrich example. She was named top 30 it so player nationally after this past year in a year end ranking. She played at a not so soccer power Hazelwood West, and while good, not the elite of elites at AFA Fillies. But she can play. And she has gotten better every year.