USC's Tomer Named Wooden Cup Semifinalist

Dec. 17, 2009

As the 2009 soccer season has come to a close, the Women of Troy have continued to gather in high honors for their efforts on the year - and beyond. Headlining the laundry list of accolades bestowed on the Trojans is senior Marihelen Tomer's prestigious selection as a semifinalist for the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, presented by Athletes for a Better World, which annually goes to one professional and one collegiate athlete who best displays character, teamwork and citizenship. In addition to Tomer's impressive semifinalist status, several other Women of Troy have picked up awards from the national, regional and Pac-10 realms.

Most recently, Soccer America put out its list of 2009 Soccer America MVPs, with senior goalkeeper Kristin Olsen notching another national honor with a spot on the First Team - the second such selection for Olsen in her USC career. Olsen also earned a place on the regional honor roll along with two other USC teammates, as Olsen takes first-team accolades in the NSCAA All-Pacific Region. Senior defender Meagan Holmes and junior midfielder Alyssa Davila join Olsen with regional honors, with Holmes and Davila earning a place on the NSCAA All-Pacific Region Third Team. That distinction marks the first NSCAA regional award for both Holmes and Davila, who had key roles in the USC gameplan this year. Davila was the team's leading scorer with nine goals - including four game-winners - and Holmes battled injuries to stand strong as USC's defensive anchor at center back. Davila earned All-Pac-10 Second Team honors this season, and Holmes was named to the All-Pac-10 Third Team.

Rounding out USC's Pac-10 awards for the season is a pair of academic award recipients who also were key contributors on the field for the Women of Troy in 2009. Junior defender Karter Haug and sophomore midfielder Brittany Kerridge have both earned Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention for their standout efforts in the classroom. Kerridge had two goals and an assist this season and provided a reliable force in the midfield for the Trojans while working to a 3.34 GPA as an accounting major. Haug dominated once again on the Trojan back line and posts a 3.21 GPA as a communications major to snag her second straight All-Academic honor.

Of the 100 nominees for the 6th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, senior midfielder Marihelen Tomer stands out as one of 20 semifinalists and the only Pac-10 athlete to earn such a high distinction. Second on the team in scoring this year with four goals and four assists, Tomer clearly has the athletic prestige to stand out among the group, although it is Tomer's citizenship work off the field that pushed her into the spotlight as a role model, however, and earned her notice from the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup Committee and Athletes for a Better World.

A member of USC's top-ranked freshman class in 2005, she was sidelined with her first of five surgeries for her first season at USC. Four seasons later, Tomer has gone from ambitiously hoping to average 20 minutes per game due to the wear and tear and pain of her surgery-spotted playing career, to starting every game of her final year at USC and averaging 57 minutes per game - almost triple the original expectations. She finished her playing career in the USC history books at No. 4 all-time in career game-winning goals (9), No. 9 in career assists (11), No. 9 in career goals (14) and No. 11 in career points (39). In her second season back to full strength, Tomer's fourth game-winner of the year came in the 2007 NCAA Championship game, winning USC's first-ever national championship and earning Tomer a place on the NCAA All-Tournament Team.

Now a fifth-year senior, Tomer has been active in outreach within her team and within the Los Angeles community and beyond. She began organizing a team Bible study group in 2008, and is active as a volunteer with School on Wheels - a tutoring program for homeless children in Skid Row. Also a member of Athletes in Action on campus, Tomer has volunteered with the LA Urban Project - a community outreach program at ministry sites around inner city Los Angeles - and on various mission trips to build houses in Mexico. Around the USC campus, Tomer has worked with the SCORE Initiative and A Day In Troy.

Tomer's next step is to participate in The World Race, a program to which she has recently been accepted. She will depart in July 2010 for 11 months to be spent in 11 different countries spending time doing volunteer outreach, working with various churches and ministries to aid in a wide variety of programs providing assistance in international communities.

The Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup is presented to two distinguished athletes from any sport - one intercollegiate and one professional - that best display character, teamwork, and citizenship, the attributes Athletes for a Better World deems central to transforming individuals, sport, and society. The award establishes the recipients as athletes of excellence both on and off the field, role models both as performers and persons, the most important and distinctive honor athletes can achieve.

The mission of Athletes for a Better World (ABW) is to use sports to develop character, teamwork, and citizenship through commitment to an athletic Code for Living that applies to all of life, and to create a movement that will play a significant role in the transformation of individuals, sports, and society. In order to be nominated for the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, the athlete must exemplify the values of the Code:

- Train with a disciplined, consistent work ethic
- Demonstrate fair play and sportsmanship
- Develop positive supportive relationships with teammates and coaches
- Win or lose with grace and dignity
- Exemplify the highest standard of personal character and make a significant difference in the lives of others

All aspects of The Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup are managed by the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup Committee, chaired by former University of Georgia Athletic Director Vincent Dooley and composed of selected members of the National Board, the Athletic Advisory Board, and other special members. The Committee acts on policies governing the nominating, selection, and awarding of the Cup.


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