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Penn State Women's Soccer: Five Nittany Lions Taking Part In Women's World Cup

by on June 08, 2015 2:00 PM

The United State's women's national soccer team kicks off World Cup action tonight against Australia and Penn State fans will get a chance to see at least one of their own hit the field.

One current and four former Penn State players will represent their respective countries this year at the World Cup making it a heck of a advertisement for a program tucked away in central Pennsylvania.

“This is obviously the biggest stage and it’s fantastic for Penn State soccer to have five players compete at the World Cup,” Penn State women’s soccer head coach Erica Walsh said. “This program has been around since 1994 and since its inception, the university has supported it so well. It has such an incredible history and it’s great to be a part of it.”

The World Cup comes only a few weeks after the massively popular soccer video game FIFA15 announced that its latest edition will feature several international women's soccer teams. While that may not seem like a big deal, it's something Walsh is pretty excited about.

"I think it's a huge deal," Walsh said. "That opens up a whole different world of fans and support and knowledge of the players. Even if it just starts out with women's soccer players playing it, I think that world is huge that it'll expose us to a different group of people."

So who can Penn State fans root for over the next month? Here are the four players Nittany Lion connections you can keep an eye on.

ALI KRIEGER ‘06
UNITED STATES
DEFENDER

From an American standpoint Krieger is the most visible player of the five. The United State's starting right back, Krieger has been a member of the Women's National Team since 2008. While Krieger has been a staple of the United State defense for years now, she is perhaps best known for sending the US through to the 2011 World Cup semifinal by booting a penalty kick against Brazil.

ALYSSA NAEHER ‘09
UNITED STATES
GOALKEEPER

Naeher probably won't see the field with world-class Hope Solo anchoring the net for the United States but that doesn't means Naeher lacks the credentials. Helping lead the U.S. U-20 women's national team win the 2008 FIFA Women's World Cup, she won the Golden Glove as the tournament's best goalkeeper. The 2014 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year is in her sixth professional season. Something bad will have happened if Naeher plays a minute of the tournament, but if she does the US will still be in able hands.

CARMELINA MOSCATO ‘05
CANADA
DEFENDER

Moscato has been a member of the Canadian national program since 2000 and her 2012 bronze medal with team Canada at the London Olympics marked the first medal won by a Penn State women’s soccer player. She became the 18th female to make her 75th appearance for Canada on April 4, 2013, racking up 91 caps (the soccer term for starts) since 2002. During her four-year Penn State career, Moscato recorded 40 points and started 45 of her final 46 games.

ERIN MCLEOD ‘05
CANADA
GOALKEEPER

If any goalkeeper in this World Cup is going to give Hope Solo a run for the best in the tournament it's McLeod. She has started in net at three World Cups and two Olympic Games, winning the 2012 London Olympics bronze medal. In each of her two seasons with the Blue and White, McLeod captured NSCAA All-America and first team All-Big Ten honors, finishing her career with a 0.64 goals against average, a program-best. McLeod's World Cup has already gotten off to a good start with a 1-0 victory over China in the World Cup's opening game. If the host country is going to make it far in this competition, McLeod will be a big part of that success.

RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ ‘15
COSTA RICA
MIDFIELDER

Still playing at Penn State and slated to be a team captain of the upcoming season, Rodriguez was named a 2014 CONCACAF Female Player of the Year nominee, the only amateur player nominated for a player of the year award. Rodriguez is the 2014 Big Ten Midfielder of the Year, a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Scholar All-America pick, NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region first team member and Academic All-Big Ten honoree. She posted 17 points in 18 games played during the Nittany Lions' 2014 season.

Penn State Participant World Cup Schedule

Canada
June 6 - vs. China at 6 p.m. ET (Edmonton)
June 11 - vs. New Zealand at 9 p.m. ET (Edmonton)
June 15 - vs. Netherlands at 7:30 p.m. ET (Montreal)

USA
June 8 - vs. Australia at 7:30 p.m. ET (Winnipeg)
June 12 - vs. Sweden at 8 p.m. ET (Winnipeg)
June 16 - vs. Nigeria at 8 p.m. ET (Vancouver)

Costa Rica
June 9 - vs. Spain at 4 p.m. ET (Montreal)
June 13 - vs. Korea Republic at 7 p.m. ET (Montreal)
June 17 - vs. Brazil at 7 p.m. ET (Moncton)

 

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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