PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Penn State Women’s Soccer Continues To Churn Out Pro Players In NWSL

When the National Women’s Soccer League kicks off its fifth season Saturday, the presence of Penn Staters will be clear.

12 Nittany Lions have been named to the opening day rosters of seven different NWSL. That tally is good for second among all schools with alumni in the league, behind North Carolina, and makes up almost half of the 25 former Big Ten players in the league.

    • Whitney Church (2011-14) — Washington Spirit defender
    • Nickolette Driesse (2015-16) — Orlando Pride midfielder
    • Britt Eckerstrom (2011-15) — Portland Thorns goalkeeper
    • Maddy Evans (2009-12) — Orlando Pride midfielder
    • Maya Hayes (2010-13) — Sky Blue FC forward
    • Ali Krieger (2003-06) — Orlando Pride defender
    • Joanna Lohman (2000-03) — Washington Spirit midfielder
    • Alyssa Naeher (2006-09) — Chicago Red Stars goalkeeper
    • Christine Nairn (2009-12) — Seattle Reign midfielder
    • Raquel “Rocky” Rodriguez (2012-15) — Sky Blue FC midfielder
    • Mallory Weber (2012-15) — Portland Thorns forward
    • Tiffany Weimer (2002-05) — Boston Breakers forward


Not only have members of the program been featured prominently on NWSL teams in the past few seasons, they’ve also been able to make an impact on the women’s professional game.

Both Ali Krieger and Alyssa Naeher have been part of the United States women’s national team player pool for a number of years, with Naeher becoming the first choice goalkeeper in recent months. In the league, Krieger was named to the NWSL Best XI in three of the past four seasons and Naeher was named the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year in 2014. Last season, Penn State legend Raquel “Rocky” Rodriguez earned her first professional accolade when she was named NWSL Rookie of the Year.

Since Erica Dambach became the team’s head coach in 2007, Penn State has been able to consistently bring in top talent and develop them into professional players during their time in Happy Valley.

A Nittany Lion has been selected in each of the NWSL’s five drafts. Only two other programs, Stanford and Virginia, can also make that claim. With a number of current players racking up postseason awards and getting called to U.S. youth national teams, that’s a streak that is likely to continue for years to come.

The coaching staff’s main focus has been key in that development, which Maya Hayes believes is a big part of her success.

“They care more about who you are as a person when you leave that program than who you are as a player,” Hayes told GoPSUSports. “It wasn’t just a number going through their program. They really care about who you are after you leave and the impact you make on the world after you leave Penn State. That was definitely felt. They did a great job instilling the right mentality in me life-wise and soccer-wise.”

About the Author

Steve Connelly

Steve Connelly is a junior majoring in PR and an editor for Onward State. He is a proud native of the state of New Jersey, and yes, he is literal trash. He is a soccer fan, nap enthusiast, and chicken tender connoisseur. He tried to be a photographer once, but the only good thing that came out of it is a name for his future sports bar, The Blurry Zamboni. You can follow him on Twitter @slc2o (feel free to slide), email him at [email protected], or come say hi to him in his office, the Irving's basement.


More by Steve

Jim Piazza Not Pushing To Abolish Greek Life, Seeks Nationwide Reform

“Our son’s face, and the faces of other young men whose lives were lost to a similar fate, are recognizable — for all the wrong reasons. We need reform. What happened in 2017 must never happen again.”

Penn State Softball’s Tori Dubois Earns Back-To-Back All-Big Ten Honors

Piazza Family ‘Dismayed’ By Dismissal Of Braxton Becker’s Tampering Charges


Penn State Hoops Alumnus Joonas Suotamo’s Journey To Becoming Chewbacca Featured On ESPN’s ‘E:60’

E:60 chronicled Suotamo’s unorthodox journey from Happy Valley to Hollywood ahead of the May 25 release of “Solo”.

Evaluating Tony Carr’s Performance At The 2018 NBA Draft Combine

Penn State Hockey Commit Evan Bell Wins Clark Cup With USHL’s Fargo Force

Center Ludvig Larsson Transfers To Penn State Hockey From Merrimack

Harris, Rivers Win Big Ten Titles On Final Day Of Competition

Student Life

Penn State Esports Wins Tespa Collegiate Hearthstone Championship

With two Penn State Esport teams in the top eight, the odds of winning the National Championship were ever in our favor.

Road And Utility Work Impacting Penn State This Summer

Where Do Penn Staters Move After Graduation?

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Evaluating Tony Carr’s Performance At The 2018 NBA Draft Combine

Carr underwhelmed in the agility tests and the scrimmage, but impressed scouts with his sharp-shooting skills.

We Are Royalty: Meghan Markle Is A Penn State Fan

Penn State fans are everywhere, even in the British royal family.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Penn State Esports Wins Tespa Collegiate Hearthstone Championship

With two Penn State Esport teams in the top eight, the odds of winning the National Championship were ever in our favor.

Send this to a friend