When Elizabeth Eddy was an All-American soccer recruit out of Newport Harbor High School in Newport Beach, Calif., most college coaches could only half-heartedly recruit her. Everyone knew where she'd spend her collegiate career.
"When I talked to them on the phone, they really knew I was going to USC," Eddy said. "They'd say, ‘I know you like USC, but here's our school...' I'm like, ‘Oh, that's cool.'"
Eddy, now a senior forward for USC, is part of a long lineage of athletes to come through Troy. Her father played water polo at USC. Her uncle played football for the Trojans. Her grandfather did too, in addition to swimming for USC. Her great grandfather was the head administrator for the athletic department in the 1930s and early 1940s. And her brother, Park, is a redshirt freshman driver on the water polo team.
"I would say my family bleeds cardinal and gold," Eddy said. "Since I was a kid, it's been my dream to come here."
Even though Eddy isn't the first athlete in her family to play her collegiate career at USC, she is probably the best - and she's definitely the most versatile.
Eddy was on the surfing and track teams in high school and also plays lacrosse for the newly-founded varsity team. But it hardly stops there - even as a double-sport athlete who picked up a lacrosse stick for the first time last spring, she wishes she could don the cardinal and gold even more.
"I'd love to play water polo and tennis, but they're in the same season as lacrosse," Eddy said. "I'd wanna play volleyball and basketball too but they all overlap, so you have to pick and choose ... I just love learning new things and competing."
But Eddy's true calling is undoubtedly on the pitch.
She's played virtually every position for the Women of Troy over the last four years except goalkeeper, and has excelled at each spot on the field.
"Because she can play end line to end line, I don't think you could put her in a role that limits her strength, which is her fitness," USC women's soccer head coach Ali Khosroshahin said.
As a freshman who rotated between forward and midfielder, Eddy was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team and became the first USC player to record a hat trick since 1997 when she netted three goals against California.
As a sophomore forward, she led the squad in scoring with four goals and earned All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention.
Her play mostly went unrecognized during her junior year as her stats declined while playing primarily defense as a leader on the young backline. But Eddy is back in the spotlight as a forward this season, leading the Women of Troy and matching her career high of five goals despite missing two matches with a minor injury.
After scoring three goals in the Women of Troy's first two matches, she was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week, the first USC player to garner that honor since 2010.
"I would not be surprised if she was the greatest athlete at USC," Khosroshahin said. "I never have to worry about her being fit or strong enough to perform."
What might be even more impressive is that many say the most outstanding thing about Eddy is not her athletic ability, but her contagious sense of enthusiasm and diligence in preparing for competition.
"She just has that natural positive aura about her that makes everyone excited to play," junior goalkeeper Caroline Stanley said. "A change from last season is that we're back to the little girls in all of us that adore soccer. It sounds so dorky, but you can see how much joy it's bringing her, which helps all of us."
Khosroshahin said that Eddy's passion for athletics is one of her defining attributes and partly why she was so highly coveted by top-tier programs across the nation such as Stanford, Cal, and Notre Dame out of high school.
"We're always looking for kids who don't need that motivation, who already have that work ethic," Khosroshahin said. "Hers was through the roof, and it always has been."
Her outgoing personality and easily identifiable curly locks have made her a recognizable figure on campus - during the interview for this article, several groups of students interrupted to greet Eddy with hugs.
And though some might let adoration and accolades get to their heads, Eddy maintains an admirable sense of maturity and grasp on her deep-rooted Christian values.
"To me, that's more important than sports," Eddy said. "All that stuff fades - the glory, losses, fame, defeat ... it matters, but not all that much. It's more important how you compete and why you compete."
Though so many players get caught up in their athletic endeavors, Eddy has her sights on the bigger picture.
"I'd say everybody comes to this point, but there's been moments where I've been like, ‘What am I doing? What's the point? What's worth living for?'" Eddy said. "What it comes down to is there's literally nothing else in life worth living for except what I believe to be the truth - [if you] live for God and glorify him with your life, in the end you'll be rewarded with heaven. Because that's the foundation - that determines how I tackle stuff in life."
No matter your motivations or beliefs, it's easy to agree that Eddy has at least been making the Trojan Family proud.
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