Croix Bethune will play his senior season for the Trojans. Bethune was ranked No. 1 overall for female soccer players by TopDrawerSoccer.com. (Vincent Leo | Daily Trojan Photo)

With three women’s soccer games at USC in their season, new head coach Jane Alukonis and her team are looking forward to the conference game that begins Sept. 23 against Stanford University. But before that, USC must get through a gauntlet of non-conference games, with games against Texas Christian University, California State University Northridge, University of Nebraska and UC Irvine. The Daily Trojan sat down with Alukonis to discuss his vision for the upcoming matchdays.

Daily Trojan: “Given this is your first season in charge of women’s football, and judging by [former Head Coach] The reign of Keidane McAlpine in recent seasons, what expectations do you have in terms of the league position for your team?

Jane Alukonis: “I think coming into the position, I knew that the level of the program for current and past players was the national championship level, so that’s the verbiage that we often use. Of course, winning the Pac-12 is a huge honor because we have such great teams in our conference, so those are definitely two things we’re aiming for this year.

DT: “You see, given that this is a coaching staff change and that Penelope Hocking – USC’s all-time leading scorer – has been traded, do you see this as a project speedy rebuild or a continuation of USC’s past seasons as a whole?”

JA: “I couldn’t be happier with the players we have here – just the level of quality they’ve produced every day. So when I look at the team I’m just super grateful and excited. You have to rebuild in areas to get things the way you like them, but [I’m] certainly not in the belief that the quality or standard is dropping. I am delighted with the level of the players I work with in this team.

DT: “This offseason, there have been rookies who have entered the fold, and it is quite complete. You have two [new] defenders, a goalkeeper and a midfielder. How do you see their role and what they will bring for this upcoming season?

JA: “I think we were very lucky in the transfer portal because we were able to get Nicole [Payne] and brandy [Peterson], both of whom did very well at the college level. It’s funny because they came in pre-season and they fit right in, in terms of knowing what college is, what the requirements are and just the daily routine. Jayce [Woodward] and Hannah [Dickinson] did well too. I know their teammates have told me how great they fit into the team. Every player I would say is still competing for places, but it’s pretty cool that we got two transfers that actually played in the past with a lot of our players. So Brandi and Nicole played with Croix [Bethune] and Hannah at the club level, so it’s kind of special to get teammates together.

DT: “Judging from my viewing experience of Keidane’s reign at USC, his style was more attacking at first and using two pivot midfielders, and that being the basis of a primarily attacking game plan. What style do you want to implement for the coming season and for the future? »

JA: “I think when people ask me that, you have to look at the current players you have and the history of the program. I’ve always liked that if SC can go forward they go forward and they’ve always been able to punish teams and put opponents on their heels so I definitely wouldn’t ever want to take that away to the current program or players. . The attack firepower is amazing, and I love it. In a nutshell, my philosophy is that if you can hit the mark, you hit the mark. Otherwise, you keep the ball until something opens up so you can go on goal. That’s kind of the easiest way to put it.


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