USC Soccer's Freshmen Set To Kick Off Trojan Careers

July 24, 2009

With the 2009 soccer season on the horizon, the USC women's soccer team welcomes the arrival of eight newcomers to the roster and to preseason training in August. Head coach Ali Khosroshahin has a group of 2009 freshman who largely boast a balance in abilities that will bolster the Trojans' push through the Pac-10 and beyond. Joining the Trojan roster for the 2009 campaign are Kate Cutting, Courtney Garcia, Samantha Johnson, Kelly Morgan, Stephanie Morgan, Morgan Morrow, Kat Parker and Katie Tate.

'The strength of this class is in its versatility,' Khosroshahin said. 'We have a number of players that can play multiple positions and who come from very competitive environments. They'll raise the level of competition in training on their arrival.'

'All of these kids can play in the back, the midfield and up front if we need them to. It's rare to have a class with that much experience playing different positions. It's going to allow us to play a more flowing game, because the players can interchange roles without it disrupting what we're tying to do.

The eight newcomers step on the field following the departure of a class of eight seniors who graduated from the 2008 team. Six of those players - Janessa Currier, Kelley Finch, Nini Loucks, Ashley Nick, Stacey Strong and 2008 Olympic gold-medalist Amy Rodriguez - were members of USC's top recruiting class as freshmen in 2005 and were anchors of the Trojans' first-ever national championship, captured in 2007.

'They've got some big shoes to fill,' Khosroshahin said of the new eight Trojans' arrival at Troy. 'They all understand that coming in and they all look forward to the opportunity to show what they can do. They're already on board.'

Two of the newcomers have long trips to make to come to USC, as Morgan Morrow and Katie Tate hail from Delaware and South Carolina, respectively. Morrow will redshirt her first season at USC due to a torn ACL suffered during her senior season at Padua Academy in Bear, Delaware, but Khosroshahin touts Morrow as an immediate fit into the Trojan midfield once she's healed up and ready for the 2010 season.

'She was the Delaware Gatorade Player of the Year - she's all-world,' Khosroshahin said of Morrow. 'This kid could be something really special for us. She's supercharged and gives relentless effort. She just doesn't stop working. She's fast and skillful and likes to score.'

Tate is a 5-10 goalkeeper from South Carolina who joins an extremely experienced USC goalkeeping corps of seniors Kristin Olsen and Brittany Massro.

'Katie's is the goalkeeper of the future here,' Khosroshahin said of Tate. 'She has two very good people to learn from, and I think she has a standing ability to grow into the position. She's a talented kid.'

The other six new Women of Troy are California products with a vast array of experience. Although Khosroshahin is confident in the flexibility in talent of each player, Courtney Garcia and Samantha Johnson come in as marked threats on the front lines. Garcia comes in as an attacking midfielder from Esperanza High School in Yorba Linda. Another solid finisher, Johnson hails from Palmdale and was a Parade All-American out of Highland High School. Johnson also has had a busy summer competing with the U.S Under-18 team.

'Courtney is going to give us a natural left-sided exit on the flank,' Khosroshahin said of Garcia. 'She's comfortable on the left, takes people on 1-v-1, has good pace, and is a good finisher.'

'Sam also is a finisher. She's a natural goal-scorer,' Khosroshahin said of Johnson. 'We believe she's going to score a lot of goals for the Trojans. She's also played in the back for the under-18s and at central-mid for the u-17s, so she's another versatile kid. She looks for those opportunities.'

USC's flexibility deepens even further with the addition of the next four players. Midfielders Stephanie Morgan and Kat Parker and defenders Kate Cutting and Kelly Morgan bring a breadth of skills to the pitch. Parker and Kelly Morgan were teammates at Carondelet High School in the Bay Area. Stephanie Morgan comes to USC from Anaheim Hills as a Canyon High School graduate, and Cutting played at Torrey Pines High and is from Rancho Santa Fe.

'Stephanie is a central midfielder but can play anywhere on the park,' Khosroshahin said. 'She's a very, very intelligent soccer player who can contribute significantly for us. Kat is one of those versatile and consistent players. She's solid, hardworking, intelligent and an all-around team player.'

Cutting and Kelly Morgan are tabbed as defenders, although Khosroshahin again sees a wide array of potential in them as well.

'Kate could possibly be one of our best athletes. She'll predominantly play in the back, but she could be one of the fastest kids on the team,' Khosroshahin said. 'And Kelly Morgan, this kid's quick. She's intelligent and consistent and another one of those relentless workers. This kid could start for us.'

'We've been very selective in our choice of these players,' Khosroshahin added. 'We have athletes from Delaware and from South Carolina coming in along with players from around California. They've covered so much ground with where they're coming from.'

With training camp coming soon to Troy, the USC 2009 roster will take shape quickly as the Women of Troy look to make their fifth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.

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