Duncan Bochicchio has been playing competitive soccer since he was 11. In his final season as an Emerson Lion, Bochicchio is tied for fifth in goals in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference.
Bochicchio recently suffered a concussion Sept. 24 in a conference game against Springfield.
“Late in the first half against Springfield on Saturday I jumped for a header and the defender behind me banged his head into mine,” Bochicchio, a senior journalism major, said. “It knocked me out for a few seconds and I haven’t been able to go to class all week.”
Due to his concussion, Bochicchio missed Wednesday’s game against Regis College and will miss the conference match against Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Oct. 1 while he recovers.
Four weeks into play, Bochicchio leads the team in goals with four. He scored twice against Salem State University, securing the team’s Sept. 10 win.
“I was really comfortable on the ball, and I scored with my left foot which is pretty rare for me,” Bochicchio said.
Bochicchio strayed from family tradition by choosing to pursue soccer.
“Me playing soccer was a bit of a wild card. Football and baseball is really big in my family, but for some reason I was drawn to soccer,” Bochicchio said, “At four I played on my first team and pretty quickly excelled at it. By 10 or 11 it was 100 percent my only focus.”
Bochicchio continued to play throughout high school with the intention of pursuing college soccer.
“I didn’t really understand the recruiting process, I had always just assumed I would play D1,” Bochicchio said. “I learned too late that recruiters only reach out to the really talented players.”
Instead, Bochicchio attended Santa Monica College for two years in California, where he played competitive soccer before transferring to Emerson for the 2015-16 academic year as a junior.
He started all 17 games last season at either the forward or midfield position, and scored seven goals, just two behind “Dan ‘Nine Goals’ Knight”.
“To be honest, I really want to blow [Knight’s] number out of the water and hopefully get into double digits,” Bochicchio said.
“People with the kind of authority on the field and over the team that he possesses can become relaxed, but he is always putting forth his highest effort,” second-year head coach Javier Mejia said.
Mejia said he was almost unanimously voted as one of the three captains.
“He knows more about the team then I do, and the team knows more about him then I ever will because they spend more time together in classes and on campus… and for them to vote nearly unanimously says a lot,” Mejia said.
As captain, Bochicchio said that he tries to lead by example, by coming out onto the field ready to play and work hard. Mejia explained that Bochicchio leads the team through his personal drive and commitment.
“Not all captains are necessarily very vocal. Instead, they lead through the effort they put out on the field and mutual respect,” Mejia said. “He displays more of the latter.”
“He’s always ready to go, we look up to him, and to see him play with such intensity makes everyone’s level of play go up,” freshman back and midfield Parker Hughes said.
Before leaving school last April, Bochicchio said he and his fellow captains had a conversation with the team to emphasize the importance of training.
“You can run like a horse to get into shape right before season, but it can’t substitute for game play,” Bochicchio said.
While everyone went their separate ways for the summer, Bochicchio remained committed to his new role as captain.
“He was the upperclassmen that was most available to freshman over the summer and was a great communicator,” Hughes, a marketing communication major, said.
Although the team has yet to win a conference match, Bochicchio said it is important to remain focused on the goal before and during a game.
“Before kickoff I touch the ground and kiss my hand to refocus myself... my dad always told me to get refocused, so kissing my hand was a way to do that,” Bochicchio said.
Although Bochicchio misses Monday and Tuesday practices because of classes, he remains focused on his goals for the team, Mejia said.
“He researches the opponents and their statistics and puts together a packet and sends it to me, and I send it to the team,” Mejia said. “Even though he’s not on the field, he is still doing whatever he can.”
Bochicchio’s dedication and focus extend both on and off the field during games.
“To remain concentrated while in a game, I’ll stare at the goal to remind myself what the goal is, and that’s to score goals,” said Bochicchio.
Bochicchio has five conference matches left in his college career, he is hopeful that in the next month one of these games will be the Emerson men’s soccer team’s first NEWMAC victory.
Bochicchio stands by a simple philosophy while out on the field leading the team, and it is this philosophy that he hopes will help secure a conference match win this season.
“You play every game as if it’s your last game, as if you’re going to die,” Bochicchio said.