Welcome back to another installment of the USC Moms Corner! This week in our Mother’s Day Special, we dive into the world of a USC Trojan mom and get an inside look at college football Saturdays. Learn the “do’s and don’ts” of game day and explore some memorable moments straight from the moms themselves.
- Hometown: San Juan Capistrano, California
- Mother of redshirt freshman outside linebacker Abdul-Malik McClain and true freshman wide receiver Munir McClain
- Hometown: Irvine, California
- Mother of sophomore quarterback JT Daniels
- Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Mother of redshirt freshman running back Markese Stepp
Teresa Trout Franklin
- Hometown: Ferguson, Missouri
- Mother of redshirt freshman defensive lineman Trevor Trout
- Hometown: Altadena, California
- Mother of redshirt freshman long snapper Jac Casasante
Now that you have met the moms, it is time to find out what the game day experience is like for parents of USC Trojan athletes.
From tailgating and seating, pesky construction, and special moments, the moms tell all about their 2018-2019 season and give advice for future USC football parents to ensure the best college football Saturday possible.
What is a basic run down of your Saturday from pregame to postgame? Do the moms get to enjoy a tailgate?
Shan McClain: Saturday afternoons from pre-game to post-game were always exciting for the McClain’s traveling from South Orange County to South Central Los Angeles. I’m just excited to know that my oldest son is a USC Trojan, it is an honor for the family. Many of the moms have an opportunity to mix and mingle while tailgating with our extended Trojan family. Before games, I usually send my son an inspirational prayer and quote for motivation.
Alison Daniels: My Saturday football was planned totally by my husband, Steve. Each week we did attend a few tailgate parties prior to the game, it was fun to see how excited people are before a game! We always went to parent prayer before each home game. After the game, we would wait with all the other parents in a designated spot to see our boys come out of the locker room before they get on the bus. That was the most important 10 minutes of my week! I would get the rundown of what is hurting him, and see how he is doing mentally.
Uyvette Stepp: First, I pray for the coaches, team, and for Markese. Next, I send Markese an encouraging pregame text or I call him. Then, I get my gear on and head to the Coliseum for the team prayer. I love seeing my son walk down the steps of the Coliseum! It gives me chills! I go to the parent tailgate sometimes, not always. I like to visit the vendors & spirit shop before the game. After the game, I meet Markese at the USC Village, we grab a bite to eat, recap the game, and we just hang out and talk all night. I love spending time with him.
Tracy Casasante: My husband and younger son put on our USC gear, I grab my clear backpack, couple bottles of water and head to the Coliseum. We almost always get to the team prayer before the game. Watching our boys in game face, walking down the Coliseum stairs, gives me goosebumps. It cracks me up when fans line the way from the stairs to the center of the field and they want to get a high five from my son and snap pictures of him. We usually attend the football team tailgate which is a very nice set up with good food and fellow parents.
What were your thoughts when you saw first hand what a football Saturday is like at USC?
Shan McClain: My thoughts when I saw first-hand what a football Saturday was like at USC was astounding. The USC fans were dynamic. The site of my son wearing cardinal and gold was quite attractive. I was humbled and proud that my son represented the USC Trojans and would someday have an opportunity of getting a degree at a prestigious university, which is priceless.
Alison Daniels: USC fans are serious about their football and their tailgating! I have been going to watch JT play football since he was five years old. As my husband and I were walking to the first home game, he made a comment to me...
“We are still going to watch our baby play football, but now we are watching him play with 80,000 other people! How surreal!”
That pretty much sums it up.
Uyvette Stepp: My initial thoughts during the 2018 season opener against UNLV, were of pride, accomplishment, humbleness, overwhelming emotions, and then I was like...it’s real! I’m in California, in the LA Memorial Coliseum, my baby is in cardinal and gold, I’m a USC mom, and now I see firsthand what all the excitement is about USC football. I was extremely nervous!
Teresa Trout Franklin: Since I am so far away in Missouri and a working parent, I only got to attend three games and no tailgates. I thought it was enjoyable, not as much fluff as some of the other schools. Parent seating was horrible however, because of construction.
Tracy Casasante: My husband graduated from USC years ago and we attended some games back when we were dating, but it is so different now looking through a different perspective. I marvel at all the tailgate setups, the sea of cardinal and gold, the traditions like kicking that light pole and watching the band march through campus.
I know the football parents have their own entrance and space on game days, does everyone sit together in their own section in the stands as well?
Shan McClain: It’s very convenient for parents to have their own entrance on game days. It would be ideal for football parents to sit together, but unfortunately the Coliseum was under renovation, so football parents were unable to sit together. I’m sure this season all the kinks will be worked out for parents to have their own section.
Alison Daniels: This year because of the construction of the stadium, everything was turned around for seating at the games. The parents did not get to sit together at all and it was disappointing. Next year when all the construction is complete, we have been told that all the parents will be together to cheer on our boys. I sure hope that is the case, it will make the game more fun for sure!
Uyvette Stepp: This year, the seating was a little complicated due to the renovation of the stadium. The seating for parents was not in a specified section. Hopefully, this upcoming season parents will have a specific section closer to the field.
Tracy Casasante: It seems that parents sit in various places throughout the stadium. We thought that it was by grade level but it is hard to say. We have sat amongst some die hard season ticket fans and a few parents.
What is one thing USC does to make the football parents feel like family?
Shan McClain: The sense of a family atmosphere is USC football’s most valuable asset. At USC, there’s diversity and inclusion for whomever is representing the cardinal and gold. The love everyone shares is deep from the heart, that’s what makes the football parents feel like one big family.
Alison Daniels: My favorite thing coach Helton does to make us all feel like family, is the parent prayer before every home game. Parents and grandparents of every boy on the team can go into the stadium an hour and a half before the home games. We all wait at the bottom of the stairs. The team shows up and they walk down the stairs to us cheering for them. Everyone makes their way onto the 50-yard line and coach Helton says a short prayer. We kiss our boys and they go into the locker room to get their game on, and we go back to having fun!
Uyvette Stepp: One of the most important things to me is communication. USC does a great job of communicating with the football parents. Communication is imperative within our football family because some of us live far away and depend on that communication to stay updated and connected. I appreciate the emails from Assistant Director of Operations Cheryl Taplin. She does an awesome job of making us feel included and informed.
Tracy Casasante: Cheryl Taplin is the best and knows that even though the boys are in college and supposed to be young adults, they are still boys and need their parents to help remind them of things. She knows what they may not tell us and shares everything we need to know.
Can you describe the feeling of what it is like seeing your son living out his football goals and dreams in front of your eyes?
Shan McClain: Abdul-Malik has played football since the tender age of five, and with all the hard work he’s put in over the years, I knew it would possibly payoff someday. Like many African American little boys, they dream of playing in the NFL or NBA and attending a great college to educate themselves to prevent poverty. Malik always had dreams and aspirations of playing one of the two. Not only is Abdul-Malik fulfilling his lifelong dream of playing collegiate football and knowing that college is the route to a more successful endeavor, but most importantly, he is acquiring a stellar education from one of the best in-class universities in the country.
His dreams have turned into reality. Abdul-Malik will play at the Los Angeles Coliseum for the Trojans. That’s big! He can now use the platform of football as a way of service to give back to his family, community, and the world. He can use his God given talent to share, have fun, show up, and show out. As a mother, my job is to assist God on Malik’s journey to be all that he can be at USC and in life. Bringing Abdul-Malik McClain from Atlanta, Georgia, back to my hometown, the City of Angeles, where I was born and raised, is my way of giving back to my city. I had visions of this day and now it’s here. My only wish is to have my grandmother and my father watching Abdul-Malik play in the Los Angeles Coliseum, representing USC football. Wearing cardinal and gold is something special.
Alison Daniels: Surreal...that is the word I have used many times to describe what has transpired with JT for the last two years...I am beyond proud of him. He has put in thousands of sweat equity hours to be where he is today and I am most proud of his work ethic.
Uyvette Stepp: This is a loaded question that brings on so many emotions that can’t be described on paper, but I’ll try. As a mother, when your child comes to you at seven years old with dreams of playing college football to achieve his ultimate goal of playing in the NFL, your whole mindset shifts to “the plan.”
What do I need to do to help him in the classroom and on the field? What’s my role as his mother? How can I best prepare him mentally, academically, spiritually, physically, and am I doing everything I can?
These are just some of the questions that I’ve asked myself. Then, you fast forward eleven years later and he’s living out the first part of “the plan.” It is an overwhelming set of emotions because I know firsthand the obstacles, challenges, hard work, pain, sweat, and tears he had to endure to get where he is. It was not easy but we never gave up! I am a mother that is proud, yet humbled and excited, but must remind him and myself to remain focused. I am filled with joy, but must remain prayerful, and most importantly, I feel blessed to be his mother, and that God chose me to guide and be alongside him during this journey.
Teresa Trout Franklin: I’m excited that my son is living out his football dreams and out of all the schools he could have attended, he chose one that was an academic and athletic fit for him.
Tracy Casasante: Jac got so much television air time during the home games. I was inundated with texts from my friends telling me they saw him. It made us giggle.
What was your favorite moment from USC’s 2018 season?
Shan McClain: My most favorable moment was seeing my son for the first time, running out of the Coliseum tunnel wearing his USC Trojan uniform. I knew he was motivated and excited to be a part of the team.
Alison Daniels: My favorite memory of the 2018 season, was the Washington State game. It was so fun to watch the boys rally together and get a come-from-behind win against a highly ranked opponent!
Uyvette Stepp: By far, my favorite moment during USC’s 2018 season, was seeing my son get some playing time during the Notre Dame game. It was extremely difficult as a mother to know your child’s ability and have to watch him sit the sidelines game after game. It was my favorite moment because I knew how much it meant to him to play in that game.
Are there any game day essentials or suggestions that you would tell fellow moms to bring or do?
Shan McClain: On game day it’s always important to get to the game early, so that you can attend the prayer and see the boys come out. Plan parking in advance because it could be expensive. Meet as many moms as possible, ask other moms questions and concerns, share contact information with other parents, share social media information, and follow Conquest Chronicles Reporter, Dina Colunga.
Get to know our great parent liaison Ms. Cheryl Taplin, purchase USC gear, carry a clear bag for belongings, wear comfortable clothing and shoes, lastly, be safe and careful of your surroundings always.
Alison Daniels: I always have my binoculars with me! When we are on defense, I must admit, I put my binoculars on JT on the sidelines and check him out almost the whole time...it gives me peace of mind to see him!
Uyvette Stepp: On game day, every mom needs to attend the parent prayer, meet a new mom each game, visit the spirit shop/bookstore to get USC gear, and have her clear bag. Bring bottled water, binoculars, portable charger, USC family ID, sanitizer, cash/credit card, and wear comfortable shoes.
Also, if you have a friend who is a homeowner in the area near the Coliseum to park, it’s less expensive and easier to navigate the traffic on game day. I park in the same homeowner’s yard every game.
Tracy Casasante: Hot game days...bottled water is allowed. One per person. A hat and maybe a light towel. Cold days, we don’t get those. We usually park in the campus lots except for big game days, we have to park a little farther, but it’s not too bad. So we pay 20 or 30 dollars for parking. Bring binoculars in case you are seated really far from the field. Gotta be able to watch your son.
After the home games, parents can meet the players when they come out of the tunnel from the locker room. It’s where the away team buses park and wait for their players too. You can see your son and see what food they get after the game. I can’t remember the exact location, but it was near the campus “public” pool. Maybe named after Jackie Robinson.
A huge cardinal and gold thank you to all the moms who shared their game day insights! Shan McClain, Alison Daniels, Uyvette Stepp, Teresa Trout Franklin, and Tracy Casasante, you all are the heart of the football team.