Two Penn State Alumnae To Play In 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup
When USA women’s soccer coach Jill Ellis announced the finalized 2015 FIFA World Cup roster, Penn State fans rejoiced as prominent alumnae Ali Krieger and Alyssa Naeher made the final cut. The duo will join the national team’s march for its first World Cup since 1999 when the tournament begins June 6 in Canada.
With Krieger and Naeher’s inclusion, Penn State will likely have four women represented on the World Cup stage, as Carmelina Moscata and Erin McLeod are part of Canada’s World Cup roster. No strangers to the World Cup, Moscata played in 2003 and 2011, while McLeod played in 2003, 2007, and 2011. As of now, Canada has not released its World Cup roster, but both are named on the 23 active player roster for the Canadian National Team.
Krieger wore the Penn State blue and white from 2003 to 2006, during which time she was named a two-time All-American and first-team NSCAA All-American. Krieger was a team captain in both her junior and senior year. While on the team, she played in 87 matches and scored 11 goals with 19 assists. Krieger had the potential to add to those totals, but she suffered a broken leg near the end of her junior season. In 2006, she was moved from midfield to defense, where she was named the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Year. The team won four consecutive Big Ten titles during her playing career.
After college, she played in Germany with Frankfurt and won the UEFA Women’s Championship, the Bundesliga title, and the German Cup. From there, she went back and fourth with her German and two American teams, Washington Freedom and Washington Spirit. At the moment, she is playing for the Spirit, wearing the No. 11 jersey.
On the national level, Kreiger has officially been a part of USA soccer since 2010, and will be making her second World Cup appearance. In the 2011 World Cup, she was one of only four players for the U.S. to start and play all 600 minutes. She was also named to Fox Soccer’s Best 11. In 2012, she was named to the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying team, but a torn ACL and MCL kept her from competing in the Olympic tournament.
Though her career has been cut down by many injuries, including her most recent concussion, Kreiger will be dominant defensive force this summer.
Naeher was Penn State’s starting goalie from 2006 through 2009. While with the team, she was a three-time NSCAA All-American, the Big Ten Tournament Defensive MVP in 2008, and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2007. She recorded 24 shut-outs and compiled a 50-19-5 record.
Naeher was the 11th overall pick in the 2010 Women’s Professional Soccer Draft and was chosen by the Boston Breakers. While with the Breakers, she set a franchise record with 99 saves in 2011. After a stint in Germany with Potsdam, she returned to Boston better than ever. In 2014, Naeher stopped a NWSL record six penalty kicks in one game, made a record 106 saves, and was named the 2014 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year.
Though this will be Naeher’s first World Cup, she was already the starting goalie in the U-20 league and led the U.S. to a 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup victory, where she was awarded the Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper of the tournament. In 2014, she earned her first cap in a shutout victory over Argentina. She has yet to see any action in 2015.
Naeher figures to have limited, if any, playing time in this summer’s tournament. She finds herself behind both Ashlyn Harris and veteran starting keeper Hope Solo. Even if she does not get playing time, the experience will serve as an invaluable tool, while additionally giving her the chance to represent her country as the U.S. women’s squad seeks its third World Cup title.