skip navigation

How Dawn Staley and NASA mathematicians are inspiring Greenville performance coaches India Trotter and Blakely Mattern

By Staff, 03/16/23, 9:45AM EDT


India Trotter

Blakely Mattern

As the USL continues to celebrate Women’s History Month, we connected with India Trotter and Blakely Mattern, performance coaches with Greenville Liberty SC. Both Trotter and Mattern are co-founders of 11.11 Training in Greenville, SC.   

India Trotter is a graduate of Florida State University where she was named ACC All-Freshman team, 3x ACC First team, 2x All-American, 4x NCAA All-Tournament and Mac Herman Semi-Finalist. Trotter was inducted into FSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017. Trotter was an alternate for the 2006 Olympics team and 2007 World Cup team. Trotter played professionally in the US for over five years and went on to play professionally internationally in Germany and in Sweden.  

Blakely Mattern graduated of the University of South Carolina where she was named SEC All-Freshman team, 2007 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-American. Mattern was also inducted into the Gamecock Athletics Hall of Fame in 2022. Mattern played professionally in the U.S. for over three years and internationally in Sweden and the Netherlands.  

We recently spoke with Trotter and Mattern about Women’s History Month, Greenville’s upcoming season and becoming entrepreneurs. 

USLHQ: To celebrate the “history” piece of Women’s History Month, is there a woman from history, from the sports world or outside of it, that you find especially inspiring? 

India Trotter: I have always been inspired by Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. They were extremely intelligent women who didn't let their race or anything else deter them from making history in the early NASA explorations. I admire them because they didn't see themselves as victims due to race or gender. They saw themselves as intelligent people and that thought process allowed them to not only become extremely successful, but also make history. 

Trotter with head coach Julie Carlson

Blakely Mattern: When I first read this question, I immediately started thinking about women I grew up watching play soccer. There have been so many players who have shaped not just soccer, but sports in general. I remember watching Michelle Akers, Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain in the World Cup make history. The memories are endless of female athletes who have put on incredibly courageous performances, pushed the envelope far past what had previously been set, and created a standard of excellence to aspire to for all the younger generations of female athletes.  

But when I think about someone who has had a more personal impact on me is Dawn Staley, head coach of the University of South Carolina Women’s Basketball team.

I know she is still “writing her chapters” but history in my opinion is created every day.  She inspires me because of the way she leads the young women she coaches, how she carries herself on and off the court, and the things she cares about. One of those being the success of other black female coaches, not just in basketball but other sports. The way she selflessly promotes and celebrates other women and their moments is rare. I love Dawn for what she stands for, and I look at her as an example of someone I want to live and coach by. 

USLHQ: We have seen some exciting and historic moments for women in the past year – for instance, when Stéphanie Frappart became the first women to referee a men’s World Cup match. What does this representation on a national stage mean for women in sport? 

Mattern chats with a Liberty player

IT: I think this historic moment is HUGE for women in sports. What's also been interesting is the number of women coaches in men's sports. Women coaching professional football and men's basketball is such a testament to how women are more than capable of having an integral role in sports of all genders worldwide. 

BM: To see women involved in and filling significant and meaningful roles in the highest level of professional sports is incredible. I love it! Becky Hammon, Jenny Boucek, Teresa Witherspoon of the NBA or Lori Locust in the NFL. To me, these women in the professional coaching world are breaking barriers. They are providing a vision for the next generation to see what is possible. What Frappart did at the World Cup was unprecedented. But what is most exciting about watching her and the impact she had across the globe, is that it won’t be the last. 

USLHQ: Greenville Liberty SC had a wonderful 2022 W League season, what are you looking forward to most for the upcoming season? 

IT: I'm excited to pick up where we left off. Last season we had such a tight-knit group with a very positive atmosphere. I'm looking forward to raising that bar and winning some games! 

BM: The inaugural season of Liberty last summer was definitely something special. To be part of the staff and around the team and organization was an experience I am certainly grateful for. With success comes expectation though, so this second season we now have a standard to uphold and surpass, which will be a fun and exciting challenge to take on. That to me will be what I look forward to the most.  To follow up on a year as successful as the first carries a high level of pressure and I am excited to help the team rise up and meet that. I am ready to see how the Greenville soccer community continues to grow and wrap their arms around this group of girls. 

USLHQ: Tell me a little bit about 11.11 Training; how it came about, how being female entrepreneurs has changed your lives, etc. 

IT & BM: 11.11 Training is a supplemental soccer training facility for boys and girls from age 10 through the professional level, which officially launched in January 2016. The idea was to create a facility that provides supplemental technical training using a methodology that combines all the essential physical and technical elements of the game that players need in order to reach their full potential. 

For the two of us it has been nothing short of a dream to have successfully started a business together. It is easy to forget where you have come from, the hours you put in, and the hurdles we have conquered when the grind is all you see day to day. But when reflecting on opportunities such as this, it’s surreal to think we are now in year 8 of business, and we’re still growing and striving to keep positively influencing the lives of young athletes.  

I think it is safe to say that being entrepreneurs sounded like most others would think - nothing but glamor and sunshine. But the reality is, starting a business is no joke and takes way more than most are willing to risk and work for. The ups and downs of the journey have been a challenge for both of us. We have been pushed outside our comfort zone so far it is hard to look back and even remember what “easy” felt like. But that is what happens for every player in the sessions they train in with us each and every week. Just like our players, the process has transformed us as people. Who we are today is a product of starting this company and working together – 11.11 has transformed us. Our hearts are set on continuing to pass on what we have learned and help any player who walks through our doors transform their life too. 

Trotter & Mattern with Liberty players

Greenville Liberty SC kicks off the season on May 12 when the team hosts FC Carolinas. The match is slated for 7 PM at Paladin Stadium - Furman University. 

Latest News