A UCLA soccer program that was lengthy a nationwide pressure in highschool recruiting, typically edging rival USC for the very best younger gamers in Southern California, momentarily ceded these designations earlier this week.
Simply examine the title it gave itself.
The nickname surfaced Monday on the official UCLA soccer Twitter account. A graphic illustration confirmed a gaggle of Bruins transfers in uniform beneath a listing indicating that the college led the nation with 20 switch starters since 2020.
Atop the put up, on a pretend metropolis limits signal, was the slogan: “Welcome to Transfer U.”
The message sparked an instantaneous uproar on social media and message boards.
Wasn’t this the stuff of groups that may’t get sufficient highschool recruits? How ought to highschool recruits really feel about coming to a group trumpeting its transfers? Might this plug-and-play strategy actually be sustainable?
UCLA coach Chip Kelly gave his enter Wednesday, and it wasn’t to thank his social media group.
“That shouldn’t have gone up,” Kelly stated. “That was a mistake the head coach saw, and when I saw it, I said, ‘That’s a mistake.’ ”
Would Kelly have the put up that by Wednesday morning had generated practically 500 likes and 60 feedback — lots of them snarky — deleted?
“Do people go back and look at it afterward?” Kelly requested a reporter inquiring about eradicating the message. “I’m not in that world, so if you want it off, I’ll take it off.”
Kelly stated there was some validity to the thrust of the put up, that UCLA was among the many groups dominating the switch market, however that he would proceed to mix transfers with highschool recruits.
“I think what their point is, we’ve been very efficient with our portal,” Kelly stated. “I think the kids we bring in here play and that’s a credit to how we do that. We’ve always approached it like it’s free agency in the National Football League, so how can they contribute to the program?”
Kelly’s switch recruiting has been an plain success. UCLA began 9 transfers in its season opener, together with working again Zach Charbonnet, left deal with Raiqwon O’Neal and twin edge rushers Gabriel and Grayson Murphy.
USC additionally introduced in a slew of transfers this season, albeit underneath completely different circumstances. Craving a swift makeover, new Trojans coach Lincoln Riley imported quarterback Caleb Williams, receiver Jordan Addison and different broadly recognized stars who might rework the group into an immediate winner.
In contrast, Kelly has hoarded transfers to plug roster holes created by mass defections and his personal undistinguished highschool recruiting. UCLA’s highschool recruiting courses have shrunk in every of Kelly’s seasons on the college, from a excessive of 27 gamers in 2018 to 11 in 2022. Conversely, the variety of transfers has ballooned, from two in his first season to 13 this season.
It’d really feel as if Kelly has all however deserted highschool recruiting given his group has solely six gamers who’ve verbally dedicated for the category of 2023. That determine could not rise appreciably as a result of the Bruins have prolonged the fewest scholarship presents amongst Pac-12 faculties.