April 2, 2010
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Former South Carolina Gamecock Blakely Mattern has been named to the final regular season roster for the Atlanta Beat of the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) league, Atlanta Beat General Manager Shawn McGee announced.
Mattern, the 21st overall pick of the 2010 WPS Draft in January, was the first pick of the third round and the fourth defender taken in the draft. She is the first South Carolina women’s soccer player to be drafted by the league that is currently in its second year of operations. The 2010 season will be the first season for the Atlanta Beat, who will be coached by Gareth O’Sullivan.
“We are excited to finally have the roster completed,” said McGee. “From year one, we believe this team will vie for a WPS Championship.”
The Beat completed the preseason with a 6-1 record and outscored opponents 19-5. The season opener is scheduled for April 11 at the Philadelphia Independence. The home opener is scheduled for May 9 against defending champion Sky Blue FC.
“We are playing well approaching the season opener,” said O’Sullivan. “We came into camp with some talented players and had to make tough decisions to decrease the roster to 22. With the players we have, we are a possession style team with many attacking options. Our defense is strengthening and we have great depth at the goalkeeper position.”
Mattern was a two-time All-American at South Carolina and in 2009 was a consensus first team selection after earning All-America nods by the NSCAA, Soccer America and the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Organization. She was the 2007 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the first sophomore in conference history to earn the honor, and is a four-time All-SEC selection. In her final season, she was captain of a defense that was ranked No. 9 in the nation and led the SEC in every defensive category en route to 15 shutouts and a berth in the NCAA Round of 16. She also contributed seven goals and an assist for 15 points and led the SEC in shot percentage with a .333 clip (min. 0.5 shots/game).
The Women’s Professional Soccer League kicks off its second season in April 2010, representing the highest level of women’s professional soccer in North America. The WPS consists of nine teams across the country located in Atlanta, the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey/New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Washington D.C.