The USC Athletic Department and Trojan Pride co-hosted the second annual Fall Sports Rally at the Galen Center on Thursday night to celebrate Trojan athletics.
The rally, emceed by 2005 USC alumnus and Lost Angeles blogger Zack Jerome, was also a chance for fans to show their support for Trojan athletes.
“We’re here to celebrate our Trojan athletic teams as they prepare for battle this year,” Jerome said, “but we’re also here to celebrate … the students, athletes and fans who make USC more than a university — [they make] us a way of life.”
The event featured each of the fall athletic teams, from tennis to football, in a pep-rally style event designed to build excitement for the upcoming season. Students who attended chanted along with the spirit leaders, danced to the music of the USC marching band and many said they left feeling excited for USC sports.
“It was pretty spectacular,” said Stephanie Lu, a freshman majoring in biochemistry. “Now I’m excited to go and see [the teams] win.”
Aside from the athletic teams, entertainment for the evening included the USC Song Girls, Trojan Dance Force and “We Are Heroes,” season-four winners of America’s Best Dance Crew, and a rap from USC men’s basketball team member Renaldo Woolridge. He debuted his song “Fight On (We Play to Rise).”
As Woolridge began his performance, the court turned into a dance floor for student-athletes. Members of the basketball team and quarterback Matt Barkley danced together as Woolridge rapped, “What we do? / Fight on / fight on / fight on / we play to rock.”
The stars of the evening, though, were members of the football team, who are preparing for their Saturday game against Hawai’i.
When Jerome announced “the fuel behind the Trojan fire,” the crowd cheered, cardinal balloons fell from the rafters and football players back-flipped across the court.
“We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time,” safety and team captain T.J. McDonald said, addressing the audience. “We need you guys to support us on Saturday. You’re the 12th man on the field, and we need you.”
Students who attended the rally left feeling enthusiastic about the upcoming football season.
“Football wasn’t big in my high school, so it’s exciting to go to a school like USC where it’s so important,” said Gilles De Prevoisin IV, a freshman majoring in chemistry. “[This season] is going to be sick, especially with the team we have this year and the teams we’re up against.”
Kylie Morgan, a freshman majoring in print and digital journalism, said she enjoyed watching the band and seeing the athletic teams.
“The football team was so spirited and the basketball team was cool. It was a lot of Trojan pride.”
According to Erica Fine, a member of Trojan Pride and an undeclared junior, the rally was only the beginning of Trojan Pride’s fall activities.
“We plan to advertise different games that are going on to try to get more people involved with the other fall sports, because they are just as important as football,” Fine said.
After attending the event, many students said the rally opened their eyes to the amount of sports teams USC has and are excited to go to many of the athletic teams’ games.
“I didn’t know we had a sand volleyball team,” said Hayden Buckley, a sophomore majoring in astronautical engineering. “It sounds so cool — I would go to see it.”
As for the football team, though, Fine said students should put on cardinal and gold, head to the student section and join in the USC football tradition Saturday.
“Get into the game,” Fine said. “The more you yell and scream and chant, the more fun it is and the more you embody the Trojan spirit.”