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May 24, 2008


COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s soccer coach Shelley Smith’s 2008 signing class is ranked as the 24th-best recruiting class in the nation, as released by Soccer Buzz magazine. The Gamecocks added 14 newcomers including three that the publication tabbed as Top 200 recruits.

The Gamecocks also ranked sixth in the 54-team Southeast region and hauled in the third best class of all Southeastern Conference teams. Kayla Grimsley (MF – Lakeland, Fla./George Jenkins HS), a three-time Florida All-State selection and two-time Player of the Year, was tabbed as a Top 75 recruit nationally, one of only 10 newcomers in the SEC to earn that distinction. Dani Henry (F/D – Avondale, Pa./Padua Academy) was named a Top 150 recruit after a prep career that included three All-State honors and twice being a National Team Pool Player. Kira Campbell (MF – Lexington, S.C./Lexington), the 2007 South Carolina Player of the Year and high school All-American, was named a Top 200 recruit by the publication.

The national, regional and conference rankings are all the second-best in program history with this being the second Top 25 signing class since Smith took over the program in 2001. The 2004 class consisted of 13 players and was ranked 23rd nationally, fourth in the Southeast region and second in the conference. That class led South Carolina to two SEC Tournament semifinal appearances and earned an NCAA Tournament appearance last season as seniors in the program.

Soccer Buzz announced that Florida State held the nation’s top recruiting class, followed by North Carolina, Boston College, California and UCLA.

The Gamecocks return 12 letterwinners and six starters from the 2007 squad that reached the NCAA Tournament and tied a school record with 14 wins. Carolina will field only one senior in 2008 in midfielder Danila Monteiro. The Gamecocks also return All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year Blakely Mattern, Freshman All-America selection Brittiny Rhoades and SEC All-Tournament team selection Kim Miller.