NCAA Champion USC To Host Mexico In Exhibition Match

Feb. 11, 2008

The defending NCAA champion USC women's soccer team will host the Mexican women's national team in an exhibition game in the Coliseum on Friday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m.

The friendly features Women of Troy head coach Ali Khosroshahin, a former Mexican assistant, facing his former boss, current Mexico head coach Leonardo Cuellar.

Tickets to this friendly showcasing America's best collegiate women's team against a team preparing to qualify for the 2008 Olympics are available by calling the USC Ticket Office at 213-740-4672 and online at Tickets are priced at $8 (adults), $5 (children) and $3 (groups of 20 or more).

'I'm so excited to be playing a team like the Mexican National Team and to be going up again Leo Cuellar, who gave me my break into college coaching,' Khosroshahin said. 'Mexico is using this game to prepare for Olympic qualifying and we're honored to be a part of their preparation, as it will challenge us to continue to improve.

'It'll be nice to play them in one of the most historic facilities in the country, and we are hoping to draw a very good crowd to the game so that we can show how the popularity of our sport in this country is growing.'

Mexico is ranked No. 22 in the world -- its highest ever -- and is third on the continent behind the United States and Canada. All three squads will compete in the upcoming CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament in April, when two teams will earn a place at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Mexico was the first Spanish-speaking nation to qualify for the Olympic women's soccer tournament, where it advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2004 Athens Games, and also was the first such nation to qualify for the FIFA Women's World Cup when it did so in 1999. Mexico won a silver medal at the 2003 Pan-American Games after taking gold in 1999 (with Khosroshahin on the coaching staff).

Mexico is headlined by the talented Maribel Dominguez, who was the first Mexican woman to accept a contract from a men's soccer club, although the move was stopped by FIFA in 2005. She was a member of the 2004 Mexican Olympic Team. Mexico is also led by Cal State Fullerton product Marlene Sandoval, as well as Evelyn Lopez, Monica Ocampo and Charlyn Corral.

En route to winning the 2007 NCAA title, USC broke numerous school records, including most season victories (20) and fewest goals allowed in a season (13). The Women of Troy also set an NCAA record with five post-season shutouts. Two Trojans - Ashley Nick (Monrovia, Calif.) and Kristin Olsen (Orange, Calif.) - were named All-Americans and Khosroshahin was named the NSCAA Coach of the Year after becoming the first coach in history to lead his team to the national championship in his first season at a school. Janessa Currier (Walnut, Calif.), Kasey Johnson (Sierra Madre, Calif.) and Marihelen Tomer (Diamond Bar, Calif.) were named to the NCAA College Cup All-Tournament Team.

Although the Trojans have no international players, several have ties to Mexico. Freshman Alyssa Dávila (Upland, Calif.) is the daughter of Albert Dávila, a Mexican-American boxer who won the 1983 Bantamweight world championship. Freshman midfielder Ashli Sandoval (Jamul, Calif.), junior midfielder Marihelen Tomer and junior midfielder Monique Gaxiola (Granada Hills, Calif.) are also of Mexican-American descent. Gaxiola competed with the Under-19 Mexican National Team as a senior in high school and has trained with the Mexican National Team.

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