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April 2, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina sophomore defender Blakely Mattern has been called up to participate in the United States U-20 National Team camp that will be held next week at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

“I am very proud of Blakely and all of her accomplishments she has already achieved at South Carolina,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “I am extremely excited for her to be given the opportunity to compete among the best players in our country outside of the college game. She is a good example of a player who has had the dedication and determination it takes to become the best she can be, and now has the opportunity to be seen at the national team level.”

Mattern will join 33 other collegiate players across the country in the camp as the United States prepares to select its national team pool for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup to be held in Nov. 20-Dec. 7 in Chile. Sessions begin Sunday, April 6 and will conclude April 13 at the facility that is home to Chivas USA and the L.A. Galaxy.

One of only two players from the Southeastern Conference invited to the camp, Mattern enjoyed a strong season at center back for the Gamecocks this year. She became the first sophomore in conference history to earn SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors and earned Soccer Buzz All-America honors, the first Gamecock to earn that distinction. In 2006, Mattern was also named a Freshman All-American and she is a two-time All-SEC member. Success has come off the field as well for Mattern as she was a First Team Academic All-District selection and carries a 4.0 grade point average.

“Blakely was never an ODP regional team selection, but has developed into one of the top college players in the country,” Smith said. “I am excited for her to have the chance at the national level in her playing career. We as coaches know what she is capable of and is deserving of this opportunity, and I know she will embrace the challenge!”

The U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team is coached by Tony DiCicco.