The USC Trojans women’s soccer team may have made their best start to an NCAA regular season since their College Cup-winning season of 2007, but the team are refusing to get too far ahead of themselves despite a record of 3-0-0.
The Trojans’ blistering pace has seen them score 12 goals and concede just four, rocketing them up to number 17 in the NSCAA rankings released on September 3. However, the team’s Head Coach Ali Khosroshahin is keen to enjoy his team’s great start and not look too far into the future.
“I am not a good fortune-teller,” he said. “All I’m really concerned with is how we do today and I’m very pleased with where we are today. With the way the players are working, their understanding of our gameplan and more importantly their commitment to each other and doing things the right way has been the best it’s been since I’ve been here at USC.
“The team’s chemistry and attitude towards each other and towards training has been second-to-none this year.”
USC’s season began with a bang with a 4-1 win over then-11 ranked San Diego State on August 23, and since then the Trojans have picked up a 4-2 win over San Diego two days later and then a 4-1 victory over Cal State Northridge on August 30. Khosroshahin believes that his team’s great start is largely due to an experienced group of players who have been able to execute their gameplan on a regular basis.
“This is the first year since 2008 where our healthy returners have outnumbered our new players,” he said. “When you have the majority of your team that’s accustomed to executing the gameplan and then you bring in a class, they’re able to teach them as well. We haven’t had that kind of an atmosphere here in probably two or three years.
“We’ve got five seniors that play pretty regularly for us, and having five seniors that play regularly brings a maturity into the program.”
Indeed, Khosroshahin is full of praise for his more experienced players for their help in welcoming the five new recruits who have joined the team this season and increased the competition for places.
“I have to give a lot of credit to our returners, who have really taken it upon themselves to make certain that the transition that these new players have to our program is as quick as possible and as comfortable as possible,” he added.
“With that being said, there’s still some growing pains that the younger players have to go through but it’s really nice having the support of the seniors, juniors and sophomores to ensure that transition is as smooth as possible.”
The Trojans next face two tough matches in the Minnesota Gold Classic against Ole Miss on September 6 and LSU on September 8. And while USC’s Head Coach is confident of the club maintaining their current streak, he is at the same time refusing to look too far into the future.
“I never try to plan ahead too much. Our goal here at USC every year is to compete for a National Championship, but I think when you look at it in the context of season-to-season, you want to do the best that you can with the group that you have.
“To know that we’ve started off this way, it’ll build some momentum, more importantly it’ll build some confidence in our players especially coming off the last two seasons.I think if we keep doing what we’re doing, I like our chances against anyone in the country.”