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U.S. Defender Cat Whitehill Tears ACL

SEOUL, South Korea (June 11, 2008) – Veteran U.S. Women’s National Team defender Cat Whitehill tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during training in Seoul, South Korea, on June 10, and will miss the 2008 Olympics. The U.S. WNT is in South Korea to compete in the Peace Queen Cup.

Whitehill, who played every minute of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, had an MRI on Tuesday night in Seoul, confirming the ACL injury. Whitehill has played 129 times for the USA and was a likely candidate for the USA’s 18-player roster for the 2008 Olympics. She won a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics and also played a key role for the USA at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Whitehill, 26, will leave the team to return to the United States where she will have surgery sometime in the next few weeks.

“Obviously, it’s a huge disappointment coming so close to a major tournament,” said Whitehill. “I’ve gotten a lot of hugs from my teammates and everyone on the team has been really supportive. It’s still a shock, especially since it’s the first major injury of my career, but now it’s time to go home, have surgery and spend time with my husband and be a good mom to my dog. I’ll be watching the team and cheering in front of the TV.”

The blow to the U.S. team comes just 19 days after the USA lost midfielder Leslie Osborne, also a likely Olympic Team member, to an ACL tear. Whitehill will have about an eight-month period of rehabilitation.

Defender Stephanie Cox will travel to South Korea to replace Whitehill on the roster for the Peace Queen Cup as well as in the pool of 22 players being considered for spots on the 18-player 2008 Olympic Team. Cox started all six games at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, but was not originally named to the USA’s 22-player roster when U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage pared down the player pool following the USA’s most recent training camp.