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March 10, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s soccer coach Shelley Smith has announced that graduated senior Darcel Mollon has signed to pursue her professional soccer career with the Kvarnsvedens IK football club in Sweden.

“It’s a dream come true for me,” Mollon said. “I’ve always wanted to play for a team like this and they are one of the best teams I could play for in Sweden. It’s going to be tough. I just have to adapt like I did when I first came to the USA, but it is awesome to play and to get paid to play the sport you love.”

Mollon enjoyed two of the most productive years ever for a Gamecock and concluded her Gamecock career seventh on the all-time scoring list with 37 career points on 15 goals and seven assists. In 2007, she led the team in goals (10) and points (23), becoming the first Gamecock to exceed 20 points in a season since 1999. She finished the season ranked in the top five in the SEC in points, goals and game-winning goals. A former junior college All-American, Mollon earned Second Team All-SEC honors, picked up NSCAA Second Team All-Southeast Region honors and was named Soccer Buzz Third Team All-South Region.

“I’m excited for Darcel and for this opportunity,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “She’s had goals to play after graduation and I’m happy she’s had opportunities in this country and others to pursue those goals. As you can see from what she provided to us in her two seasons, she’s attractive to many teams. Her speed is desired by any coach and if she continues to improve her game, she can continue to move to higher levels.”

Kvarnsvedens IK is a part of the Division 3 Södra Norrland of the Swedish football league system. The division has 12 teams that play a home-and-home series. The top placed team at the end of the season is promoted to Division 2. The highest Swedish level division is Allsvenskan, followed by Superettan and Division 1. The regular season begins in April and ends in October. Kvarnsvedens IK finished 9-10-3 last season for 30 points.

“Their style of play is direct soccer,” Mollon said of the team she will join. “They love to play the ball wide and attack which will fit well with me. They run a 4-4-2 system like we ran here at South Carolina my senior season. This year is a big opportunity for that team because it is promotion year and with a good season they can move up to the next division.”

Mollon will first participate with the Trinidad & Tobago national team as is participates in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The tournament will run from April 2-13 at the Estadio Olímpico with Trinidad in Group B with Canada and Costa Rica. Trinidad takes on Canada at 5p.m. on April 2 and Costa Rica at 5 p.m. on April 4. The top two teams from the group will advance to a round with the top two teams from Group A, consisting of USA, Mexico and Jamaica.

“Right now my biggest objective is to qualify for the Olympics (with the Trinidad national team),” Mollon said. “Our biggest game is going to be against Canada which is the same day as my birthday.”

In addition to being a member of the Gamecocks the past three seasons (Mollon sat out the 2006 season with a medical redshirt), she has also competed for the Charlotte Eagles in the W-League of the United Soccer League. She has been named to the All-Central Conference team the past two seasons, most recently after scoring 10 points on three goals and four assists last summer. She has also earned Team of the Week honors and led her team to a berth in the W-League Championship game in 2006.

“With her experience at the national level and with the Charlotte Eagles of the W-League, she’s had a variety of playing experience at a high level,” Smith said. “That will make her a stronger player. I’m looking forward to hearing about her success.”

“Playing in the W-League and here at USC gave the opportunity for a lot of coaches to become familiar (with my style of play),” Mollon explained in the offer from overseas. “I heard from coaches in Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Norway I wasn’t ready for because of how cold it is. That’s why I’m in the U.S. right now, to train in the cold so my lungs can get used to playing in the cold.”

Mollon graduated from the University of South Carolina in December 2007, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Experimental Psychology and a minor in physical education. She was a 2007 SEC Academic Honor Roll recipient.

“I’m proud of Darcel for earning a degree form South Carolina and still pursuing her number one goal of playing beyond college,” Smith said. “It’s great to see that and it shows that in future she also has the ability to succeed both on and off the field.”