Ali Khosroshahin Named Soccer America Coach of the Year
Dec. 20, 2007
In his first year as head coach of the USC women's soccer team, Ali Khosroshahin wasted no time in making an impact. He not only turned heads at Troy in pushing the Trojans to a number of new program records, he capped off the season by capturing the nation's top prize - the 2007 NCAA Championship. For his outstanding efforts in leading the Women of Troy to their first-ever national title and a record-breaking 20-3-2 season, Khosroshahin has been named the Soccer America Coach of the Year. Four Trojans also were honored with postseason awards by Soccer America. Sophomore goalkeeper Kristin Olsen continues to rack up accolades, as the Honda Award finalist was named to the Soccer America MVPs First Team. Three USC freshmen - defender Kasey Johnson and midfielders Megan Ohai and Ashli Sandoval - have been named to Soccer America All-Freshman teams. Johnson has earned a First Team nod, and Ohai and Sandoval are Second Team selections.
For Khosroshahin and his players, the run to the NCAA title marked a record-breaking season across the board. Never before had the Women of Troy broken through the NCAA Second Round. In 2007, however, USC followed up a second-place finish to UCLA in Pac-10 play with a dominating postseason effort. A No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Trojans were sent to Missouri for the first two rounds of action. There, USC topped Creighton 3-0 and then edged out host Missouri 1-0 in overtime to finally break through to the NCAA Third Round. The Trojans were granted the right to host their NCAA Third Round match against Florida, and set up camp at the Los Angeles Coliseum for a 1-0 decision over Florida. That's where freshman Kasey Johnson's first career goal came, notching the game-winner and pushing USC into the NCAA Quarterfinals. Another long road trip was in the cards for the Trojans, who jetted off to West Virginia and came away with another shutout victory and another game-winner from Johnson.
That dominating defensive run of four straight shutouts in NCAA Tournament play set an NCAA record as well as another program record for the Trojans, who carried 14 shutouts into the NCAA College Cup. In the semifinals in College Station, Texas, the Trojans went up against crosstown rival and top-ranked UCLA. USC had not beaten the Bruins in 11 straight games, and the Trojans trailed 1-0 at halftime until USC made a powerful second-half comeback. On the shoulders of a career-high eight saves from Kristin Olsen in the game, along with two assists from Ashli Sandoval and a pair of goals from junior Amy Rodriguez, the Women of Troy passed up the Bruins and posted a 2-1 semifinal victory.
Only one other coach had led his team to the NCAA final in his first season with his program to that point, but Khosroshahin did it one better. The Women of Troy capped off the season with one last shutout victory, beating Florida State 2-0 in the final to make Khosroshahin the first coach in NCAA history to win the national championship in his first season. In doing so, the Trojans rounded out its 2007 season with a record 20 wins behind a record 15 shutouts and record-low 13 goals allowed. Soccer America honorees Olsen, Johnson, Ohai and Sandoval all were instrumental in the Trojans' outstanding season. Olsen continues to garner national honors for her dominating role backing up the USC back line, of which All-Freshman First Team pick Johnson was a key member in her freshman season. In addition to her offensive breakthroughs during the NCAA Tournament, Johnson helped anchor the defense as a reliable force in the air and in organizing the USC backs. She also served up four assists on the season, including the second assist on USC's game-winning goal against UCLA in the NCAA semis.
For Soccer America's MVP First Team selection Olsen - who shined in goal all year for USC as the Trojans posted a record 15 shutouts including five during the NCAA Tournament - the All-America pick follows suit from her selection as the NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Defensive player. In her first season as USC's full-time goalkeeper, Olsen became USC's all-time leader in solo shutouts in a single season with 12 and set a new career high of eight saves during USC's 2-1 win over UCLA in the NCAA Semifinals. Olsen and the USC defense allowed a program-low 13 goals on the season, and just one during the NCAA Tournament to set an NCAA record.
All-Freshman Second Team honorees Ohai and Sandoval were both driving forces in USC's powerful possession game and attack. Both were named to the NSCAA All-West Region Third Team for their efforts in the Trojan midfield. Ohai was USC's second leading scorer, dishing out six goals and five assists along with three game-winning goals. She became the first Trojan since 1998 to score three goals USC's first two games of the year, and is the first-ever player to tally back-to-back game-winners to open the season. Sandoval also made her mark on the USC history books in year one. The valuable midfielder led the team in assists with 11 to already rank No. 10 all-time at USC. She served up the assists on both of Rodriguez's goals in the NCAA Semifinal win over UCLA to finish with three assists during the NCAA Tournament.