April 28, 2011

CARSON, Calif. - Junior Merritt Mathias and incoming freshman Shea Groom, both members of the Texas A&M soccer team, are attending U.S. Women's National Team (WNT) training camps at the Home Depot Center until May 1.

Mathias, a member of A&M's 2010 Big 12 Champion team, reported to train with the U.S. U-23 WNT. Groom, a 2011 National Letter of Intent signee who will play for the Aggies in the fall, is training with the U.S. U-20 WNT. The pair are the 35th and 36th Aggie soccer players to represent a U.S. WNT since Bryn Blalack blazed the trail in 1997.

"I'm always excited to see our players recognized as being among the best players our country has developed," A&M head coach G Guerrieri said. "Playing for our national team is a dream that kids all across America share, so seeing our girls get that opportunity is very rewarding to our coaches and the Aggie soccer family in general."

Mathias was named to the 2010 All-Big 12 first team and the 2010 Big 12 All-Newcomer team after a stellar first year at A&M as a junior transfer. The Birmingham, Ala., native started in 20 matches for the Aggies, collecting 23 points on the season with nine goals, four of them game winners, and five assists. The forward was also twice named Big 12 Player of the Week in her first season with A&M.

Made entirely of collegiate athletes, the U-23 WNT training camp features 24 players called up by head coach Bill Irwin. During the camp, U-23s will challenge the U-20 WNT and the women's club Ajax of Los Angeles, as well as the WPSL Orange County Waves.

Groom was named to the 2010 NSCAA High School Girls All-America Soccer Team and was honored as the 2010 Gatorade Missouri Player of the Year. The Liberty, Mo., native is a three-time member of the All-State First Team (2008-10) at Liberty High School. She has also attended U-17 (2009) and U-18 (2010) WNT training camps.

U.S. Soccer Technical Director April Heinrichs called 26 U-20 players to the camp in preparation for the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Uzbekistan. The camp attendees will scrimmage UC-Irvine, as well as the U-23 and U-17 camps.

The Aggies will kick off the 2011 season against Central Florida in Orlando on August 13. For more information on Texas A&M soccer, log on to AggieAthletics.com.