June 8, 2012
USC brings in 18 newcomers
With the last members of the Trojans' NCAA championship team graduating, USC head coach Ali Khosroshahin has brought in 18 newcomers to bolster the team's roster for 2012.
"After all the injuries we had last year, there was a huge need to reinforce ourselves," Khosroshahin said. "We feel we've gone out and recruited not only the most talented class that we've ever had here, but also the deepest class. We have been able to bring in reinforcements at every position, and we're very confident in these new players' abilities and their ability to adapt to the way we play."
In that mix are two transfers, headlined by 2012 spring addition Caroline Stanley, who is tabbed to take over the goal for the Women of Troy. After serving a season at Missouri, Stanley joined the Trojan ranks in the spring and will open her USC career as a sophomore goalkeeper this year. Another sophomore transfer -- who will stand tall in the midfield -- comes in Alex Quincey. At 6-1, Quincey comes to Troy after a year at UC Riverside.
"Anytime you can pick up players with experience at the Division I level and you're bringing in a large class like we are, it makes the transition easier for the younger players," Khosroshahin said. "These players are fresh off their first year, and their experiences can help guide this big class through the challenges ahead of them. They're both coming in in vital positions for us.
"Caroline is coming in to play goalkeeper. She's a very good organizer. She communicates well and she's very good with her feet. I expect her to have an immediate impact on this team. Alex is a holding midfielder and we're hopeful that she can step into the shoes of a young Ashley Nick. She's that type of a force in center midfield. She's very technical and comfortable on the ball, and she's also strong in the air."
From there, the Trojan youth movement is 16 freshmen strong. Seven of the California natives come in with All-CIF honors to their resumes, joined by representatives from three other states. Those out-of-state imports are Oregon forward/midfielder Whitney Pitalo, Washington defender Dominique Randle and New Jersey goalkeeper Faith Sugerman.
"Whitney could potentially be the best athlete in this class," Khosroshahin said. "Her hobby is pole vaulting and she's an accomplished soccer player. She has scored a lot of goals and can play multiple positions. Randle is coming off an injury, but she is a very pacey player. She's very technical too, and outside back is her natural position.
Faith is an extremely athletic goalkeeper. She's a well-rounded athlete that we see tremendous upside in. I think she's going to be challenging for the starting position."
The depth charge extends further through 13 California talents heading into Troy. Of that crew, Khosroshahin plans to place Arielle Baptiste (Pasadena, Calif. /Flintridge Prep), Katie Johnson (Monrovia, Calif./Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy/Arsenal FC), April Juarez (La Puente, Calif./ Bishop Amat HS) on the front lines to go with the attacking skills Pitalo brings from Oregon.
"Arielle is probable the fastest player we've recruited," Khosroshahin said. "She's a very pacey forward who is very dangerous in her ability to get in behind people. We're very excited about her and her potential to develop. Probable the most underrated player in the class is Katie Johnson, who was sidelined for her senior season but is coming back and looking solid. This kid is a finisher and wants to score goals, and I expect her to be on the field for us opening day. April is definitely the most intelligent soccer player in this class. When she adapts to the speed of the collegiate game, she'll be fun to watch. She is very dangerous on the ball and has really good vision."
Backing up that striking set, Khosroshahin has eyes on six midfielders as the thoroughfare for the Trojan gameplan. Freshman midfielders from that California crop will include Megan Borman (Redlands, Calif./ Redlands HS), Jamie Fink (Calabasas, Calif. /Calabasas HS), Jeanette Jimenez (San Dimas, Calif./San Dimas HS), Erin Owen (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. /Chadwick School/Slammers), Dana Schwartz (Sunnyvale, Calif./Homestead HS/ PSV Union) and Darrah Shields (Redwood City, Calif./Woodside Priory School)
"Megan is very technical, very good in the air and just a very good athlete," Khosroshahin said. "She's just a soccer junkie, and she's another payer who can score goals. Jamie is a versatile center midfielder who can play almost any position on the field. She's very athletic and technical, and could easily be in the starting lineup on opening day. Jeanette is a true talent but was injured last season and will most likely redshirt for us this year.
"Erin Owen is another up-and-comer. I don't think anyone has seen her best day in soccer yet but she's getting better every day. She can play holding midfielder and anywhere in the back. She's 6-2, and she's agile, and she'll see a ton of minutes for us this year. Dana is a very skilled central midfielder with good tactical awareness, and Darrah is another versatile player who has the potential to play in three different positions."
As the defensive unit takes shape, Khosroshahin feels he can plug in a reliable rotation of defenders to ward off attackers from the goal where new keepers Stanley, Sugerman and Emily Browne hold their ground. Khosroshahin's defensive-minded freshmen include import Randle along with Marlee Carrillo (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente HS), Jessica Flores (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./ Bishop Montgomery HS) and Amanda Mohajer (Laguna Hills, Calif./ Santa Margarita Catholic HS).
"Marlee is all business," Khosroshahin said. "She's very athletic and hardworking and determined, and she's very good in the air. She is just a solid all-around center back, and I want her to be our central defender on opening day for us. Flores is a solid outside back and will definitely compete for minutes this year."
In all, it's a balanced bunch designed to fortify a USC roster that returns 15 players from 2011, including seven of its top-10 scorers from last season.
Several of those incoming freshman already have Trojan connections in their family trees. Jamie Fink's sister Amanda was an All-American tennis player at USC; Erin Owen's sister Kelly is on the track and cross country teams at Troy; Katie Johnson's sister Isabelle is a senior on the USC soccer team; Jessica Flores has two brothers - Gabriel and Adam - who attend USC; and Emily Browne is the fifth generation of Trojans in her family.