USC Women's Soccer, Unbeaten In Last Four Matches, Hosts UC Irvine Thursday
LOS ANGELES - The USC women's soccer team returns home to host UC Irvine for their final non-conference game of the regular season on Thursday afternoon.
HOW TO FOLLOW - Thursday's game will be streamed live via USCTrojans.com. Links for the broadcasts and live stats can be found on the women's soccer schedule page at USCTrojans.com. In-game updates will also be available on Twitter by following @USC_Wsoccer.
SOCIAL MEDIA - Keep up with everything USC women's soccer this year by following the Trojans on all of their social media platforms. You can follow @USCWsoccer on Instagram and @USC_Wsoccer on Twitter, and like USC Women's Soccer on Facebook.
SERIES VS UCI - The Trojans are 11-1-3 all-time against the Anteaters since the teams first played back in 1994. The last meeting between the teams came in 2018, when USC picked up a 1-0 win on the road. USC's only loss in the series came in the first meeting in 1994.
LAST WEEK - The Trojans picked up a 2-0 win on the road at CSUN last Thursday, getting goals from Nicole Payne and Simone Jackson. Jackson also had an assist in the game, and the Trojans held a 22-4 shot advantage and a 12-0 shots on goal edge. On Sunday, USC traveled to Nebraska and picked up a 1-1 draw, with Jackson scoring the equalizer in the second half.
JACKSON PLAYER OF THE WEEK - After her two goals and one assist last week, Simone Jackson was named the Pac-12's Offensive Player of the Week. Jackson has a goal in all three matches she's appeared in and is tied for the team lead with 7 total points.
TAKING DOWN TCU - The Trojans made a statement earlier this season, posting a dominant 3-0 victory over then-No. 6 TCU at home. Croix Bethune had a hand in all three goals, assisting Simone Jackson for the first and then scoring the final two. Anna Smith made four saves in goal for her second straight shutout.
BETHUNE'S ACCOLADES - Midfielder Croix Bethune was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List early this season and was also rated the No. 1 player in college soccer by TopDrawerSoccer.com. After her 2 goal, 1 assist performance against TCU, Bethune was named to the College Soccer News and Top Drawer Soccer National Teams of the Week.
AWUJO/PAYNE/ADAMOLEKUN CALLED UP - Simi Awujo was recently called up for the first time to compete with the full Canadian National Team in a pair of friendlies against Australia. Nicole Payne was called up by the Nigerian National Team (a side she has competed for in the past) for a pair of friendlies against the USWNT. Olufolasade Adamolekun was also called up by the Jamaican National Team during the recent international friendlies window, for a matchup with South Korea.
U-20 WORLD CUP - USC had four players compete at the U-20 World Cup this summer, with Simone Jackson representing the USA, and Simi Awujo, Zoe Burns and Brooklyn Courtnall playing for Canada. Burns and Awujo started all three games for Canada and Courtnall started two of the three. Jackson came off the bench in two of the three games for the U.S., scoring the lone goal in the team's final game.
RECENT NATIONAL TEAM EXPERIENCE:
Olufolasade Adamolekun- Jamaica (Full)
Simi Awujo - Canada (Full/U-20)
Zoe Burns - Canada (Full/U-20)
Nicole Payne - Nigeria (Full)
Croix Bethune - U.S. (U-23)
Brooklyn Courtnall - Canada (U-20)
Simone Jackson - U.S. (U-20)
A NEW ERA - The Trojans hired Jane Alukonis to be the fifth head coach in program history in January of this year. Alukonis comes to USC after four years as an assistant at UCLA, where she helped the Bruins to two Pac-12 Championships and an NCAA College Cup appearance. She played her college soccer at Duke where she was a four-year starter from 2006 to 2009.
AROD RETURNS - Joining Coach Alukonis on staff is Trojan and USWNT legend, Amy Rodriguez, who announced her retirement from professional soccer this past January. Rodriguez played 11 pro seasons, won two NWSL titles (2014, 2015), two Olympic gold medals (2008, 2012) and a World Cup championship (2015). She played at USC from 2005-08, leading the program to its first NCAA championship in 2007. Her name still litters the USC record book, with the forward sitting sixth in career points with 79, sixth in career goals with 31, ninth in career assists with 17 and third in game-winning goals with 12.
SUGAR ON STAFF - The Trojans' third assistant was hired on April 22, with the addition of Shigeyoshi "Sugar" Shinohara. Shinohara comes to USC after five years as an assistant at Arizona State. Prior to his time at ASU, he spent eight seasons at Brevard College (Brevard, North Carolina) – seven seasons as head coach of the women's program (2009-15) and one season as head coach of the men's program (2016).
LAST SEASON - The Trojans finished last year 14-3-3 overall and 8-1-2 in Pac-12 play, finishing second in the conference standings. USC made the postseason for the 8th consecutive season and 20th time overall, playing into the second round where they were bounced from the tournament on penalty kicks against Penn State. The Trojans ended the year No. 11 in the final coaches poll.
B1G MOVE - USC announced on June 30 that it would be joining the Big Ten conference at the start of the 2024-25 season for all sports. Also making the move is crosstown rivals UCLA. USC women's soccer has a pair of Big Ten opponents on the schedule this season, traveling to Purdue and Nebraska.