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April 4, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina coaching staff and players conducted a clinic for the Greenville community Tuesday night at the MeSA Soccer Complex in Greer, S.C. The clinic was hosted by the Carolina Elite Soccer Academy (CESA) and attracted over 100 girls ages 14 and under as they learned from and worked out with the Gamecocks.

“Our coaching staff and players had a wonderful time visiting the CESA club last night,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “We appreciated the number of girls who turned out to work with us and truly enjoyed their effort and enthusiasm! It was so nice for our players who developed as club players in the CESA program to come back to the area and spend time with the younger girls there.”

Three current Gamecock players – sophomores Blakely Mattern and Shannon Bigbie along with freshman Maggie Blackwell – are former members of CESA. All three members earned multiple state club championships while at CESA with Mattern participating on five championship teams. Mattern’s mother, Cindy Kress, helped arrange the clinic as the former members were able to work with their younger counterparts.

“We really have to thank Cindy and CESA co-executive director Andrew Hyslop for helping to arrange the clinic,” Smith said. “Their work helped turn the clinic into a success, not only for us but for those that participated as well.”

Workstations were set up to allow for instructional exercises. In addition to instruction from the former CESA members, current Gamecocks Ali Bagley, Kacie Brewer, Courtney Cobbs, Samantha Diaz-Matosas, Brooke Jacobs, Ashley Kirk, Danila Monteiro, Mollie Patton, Brittiny Rhoades and Aly Shattls helped lead individual work stations along with coaches Shelley Smith, Jamie Smith and Mat Cosgriff.

Other former Gamecocks that competed for CESA in their pre-college careers were 2007 seniors Laura Armstrong and Kimmy Gillespie.