This week, we are going to talk about a special American university, with a special Slamstox connection! We’re talking about one of the most prestigious universities in the US: University of Southern California (USC). Our very own Peter Lucassen won 4 NCAA D1 championships in a row, and earlier we talked about Lodewijk Weststrate, who will start playing tennis for the Trojans this year.
In this week’s spotlight we are highlighting our tennis player Laurens Verboven; the Flemish tennis talent from Overpelt. In his junior career he won Flemish and Belgian national titles and participated in the European championships. He also played for the Belgian national team during various summer and winter cups and he was part of team Belgium during the Junior Davis Cup! An impressive tennis career, but Laurens definitely did not stop there.
His greatest adventure begins in the summer of 2015, when he leaves for Los Angeles. And he doesn’t go there for just a touristy walk on the walk of fame, but to join one of the most prestigious universities in America: the University of Southern California (USC). At USC, the Flemish tennis player transforms into a ‘Trojan’ and as a student-athlete he enjoys a lot of success. Laurens achieved his highest ranking in College Tennis during his senior year. He finishes 19th in the national singles rankings, and ends up with a 3rd (!) place in the doubles rankings with partner Jack Jaede.
Amazing results for our Slamstox athlete, of which we are obviously very proud. But Laurens, what do you think of USC?
‘What I like best about USC is being able to play tennis for one of the best tennis programs in the nation while getting a top degree from this prestigious university. The alumni network is amazing, and I am so lucky to be a part of the Trojan Family.’
Laurens Verboven, Slamstox-athlete
Nice words! Want to know more about this place in LA? Keep reading!
The campus, a special place to stay. USC is the largest and oldest private university in California! We hear you think, “Private? Probably not many students will be studying there then”. But you’re wrong: about 50,000 students form the ‘USC family’ there every year. American Private Universities are usually not affiliated with the American government, that’s why the term ‘private’ is used.
The location of the university certainly doesn’t make it any less attractive, because who can say that they go (or went) to school in the heart of Los Angeles? Laurens can! The school is special, the combination of the beautiful buildings and perfectly maintained gardens makes you feel as if you are walking on a film set. It is therefore not without reason that the campus has often been used for various Hollywood films, television series, commercials and music videos. The campus can even be seen in at least 180 film and television series! So don’t be surprised if you bump into Johnny Depp or Jennifer Aniston while rushing to your math class …
A beautiful campus requires beautiful (sports) facilities. The Trojan tennis players are quite lucky, because USC has one of the finest tennis facilities in College Tennis. Slamstox-founder Pedro visited Laurens and USC in 2017 and 2018 and, as an ex-Seahawk, he was – under very high exception – allowed to train with them. For once…
In addition to the tennis facilities, USC has so much more to offer. This includes the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It’s one of the biggest stadiums in college football, hosting more than 78.000 fans! As a comparison: The Netherlands’ largest stadium (Johan Cruijff Arena) hosts around 55.000 fans. We all know the saying ‘If it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t much’, but let’s quit with that for now.
In addition to impressive stadiums, USC also has a huge fitness center (of 30,000 feet), a large private cinema with Imax and 3D and for the ‘real’ students among us: they also have 23 libraries! Because yes, there must be enough space to study if all those 50,000 students have an important exam ahead…
USC offers a lot more than just mentioned. So, are you eager to see more? We understand! And so do they… Check out their virtual tour
You probably already felt it coming: the USC sports teams are pretty damn successful! Student-athletes at USC, the Trojans, are divided in 9 men’s and 12 women’s sports. The results of the teams are remarkable:
- The Trojans have won 130 national championships, 107 of which are NCAA championships.
- The men are thus far above other American universities when it comes to won national championships: they won 97! WHUT ?! But the female Trojans are also doing particularly well at the national level: they are the third best women’s team in the USA!
As you may have noticed from the immense stadium, American Football is very important to the school. The university has delivered more NFL draft picks than any other team in college Football ever. However, mainly in the field of American Football, USC has one big rival: UCLA. And what a coincidence that they are from the same city! To keep the tension between the schools high, an American Football game is played between the teams every year. The winner can show off for a year with the big trophy, the ‘victory bell’. So far, USC has won it 42 times and UCLA ‘only’ 32 times. So that has been beautiful traditional work for 74 years, which we hope will be preserved for a long time to come!
The Trojans are of course taken good care of on campus. Each team has its own nutrition coach who ensures that athletes receive the correct nutrition. Did this also contribute to the large list of Olympic Athletes that USC has raised? If you ask them, the answer will probably be yes! Until now, 453 former students have participated in the Olympic Games, holy moly! This number is higher than any other university in America. The Trojans are worth 144 gold, 92 silver and 71 bronze medals. Keep fighting, Trojans!
Successful sports teams and large stadiums undoubtedly require a special mascot, and USC knows how to stand out there too. Traveler the Horse is the mascot for the Trojans. No volunteers dressed up in a horse outfit this time, but a lifelike animal! The horse appears at all home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, also Traveler attends many other outdoor activities.
As in the life of every student athlete, studying is very important in addition to sports. USC is a member of the Association of American Universities, a network of important research intensive American universities.
USC is often named one of America’s top universities by college rankings. Besides, the university sends a lot of their students to Silicon Valley every year. In addition, among the former students 9 of them received the Nobel Price, 1 received the Turing Award and 11 of them are Rhodes-alumni!
USC offers a lot of different courses, in many different fields. Do you want more specific information about your field of study? Check this list!
Some of USC’s Fun Facts are mentioned below:
The good old days! We go back 140 years in time to the year 1880: USC opens its doors. At the time, students were not allowed to leave campus without the headmaster’s personal approval. That is unthinkable now, with those 50,000 students… The school costs at the time were $ 15 per semester! That’s also far from reality now, for that amount you can get 2 cappuccinos in down town LA! Thank god for scholarships… (Or thank Slamstox, actually!) Curious about what the environment of USC looked like at the time? Look at the picture below!
I want to be a billionaire, so freaking bad…
And no, we’re not talking about the lyrics of Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars’ super hit. America wouldn’t be America without her special facts! In addition to the big stadiums and all the national titles, USC is good in something else too: delivering BILLIONAIRES. USC has produced 29 billionaires so far. There are only 3 schools in the world that have more billionaires in its network: Penn, Harvard and Yale. Well Laurens, we’ll keep our eyes on you!
In addition to quite a few billionaires, USC also leaves a number of other notable alumni. Neil Armstrong and Shinzo Abe (president of Japan) were once in the school desks of this university. But also Tim Sluiter, Dutch top golfer, started his professional career as a Trojan! So whether you want to walk on the moon, become president or have a professional sports career in mind: USC offers a lot of possibilities!
Do you, just like Laurens, want to become a student-athlete in the USA? Or do you want some extra information? Reach out to us!