Photo by Brian Fox / ChompTalk.com

The Florida Gators claimed the Sunshine State on opening weekend, but Gators soccer’s ambitions are set on western gold. Florida soccer is plotting to conquer Los Angeles by defeating No. 5 Southern California and No. 4 UCLA this weekend.

Deanne Rose Leads the Gators

Deanne Rose received awards for two clinical performances during the Gators soccer’s silver anniversary opening weekend. Three goals and one assist were enough to earn her the first SEC Offensive Soccer Player of the Week award and TopDrawerSoccer.com National Player of the Week. Coach Becky Burleigh believes Deanne Rose’s experience with Canada’s international team helps the squad. The absences are obviously the only negative side to it.

Florida overcame FAU in its season opener at Boca Raton 3-2 and Rose midst of it. Rose scored an equalizer early in the second half and struck a golden goal to claim Florida’s first win of the regular season.

If that wasn’t enough, the Canadian would play a key role in the Gators win against No. 18 USF just two days later. Rose used her blistering pace to beat the Bulls’ defense in two separate instances in the second half of the match. She served a squared pass for Kit Loverski to score with ease and curled Florida’s second goal past the Bulls’ goalkeeper to seal the match.

High-Caliber Competition

The USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins are two of the most successful NCAA women’s soccer programs.

Southern California

The University of Southern California has reached two NCAA women’s soccer championships in its programs history and clinched both.

The overall record between the Trojans and the Gators is 3-2 in favor of Florida. However, Gators soccer suffered both loses in its last two meeting with the West Coast side. Like the Gators, the Trojans started their season 2-0 defeating Hawai’i and San Francisco.

UCLA

The Bruins are the Bayern Munich of the NCAA Championship winning one out of five finals.

Nonetheless, the overall record between the Gators and the Bruins stands at 3-4-1 in favor of the LA program. Moreover, Florida was able to tie last season despite an abundance of injuries.

Like Florida, UCLA has a Canadian international player who brings that extra something to the team.

Burleigh’s Approach

Burleigh has been in the program for 25 years now and she knows what these tough matchups early in the season mean to the team and the season ahead.

Florida still has things to work on despite starting its season in a flawless manner. A couple of those things, building play from the back and having more control.

English Duo Get National Call-ups

English duo, Georgia Eaton-Collins, and Ava Kuyken will miss the western action due to national call-ups.

Eaton-Collins, sophomore, joined England’s under-21 squad earlier this week ahead of the annual Nordic Tournament. Meanwhile, Kuyken who was the only freshman in the Gators starting lineup in their season opener joined England’s under-18.

Both players will be back before the game against FSU on September 8.

Games Info

Thursday, Aug. 29 at No. 5 Southern California.

Sunday, Sept. 1 at No. 4 UCLA.

Catch coverage of both games via radio at ESPN 98.1 FM 850 AM and via stream at Pac-12 Network.

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