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Penn State Alum Alyssa Naeher, USWNT Claim Bronze In Tokyo

Former Penn State women’s soccer star Alyssa Naeher earned the first Olympic medal of her career alongside the U.S. women’s national team Thursday.

The top-ranked U.S. defeated Australia 4-3 to claim bronze in Tokyo. Naeher, though, was held out of the match due to a hyperextended knee and bone contusion suffered in Monday’s semifinal match against Canada.

“I’m disappointed I won’t be able to be on the field Thursday with my teammates competing for a medal, but I know this group will bounce back from a tough loss,” Naeher said in a statement Tuesday. “I can’t wait to watch them fight for a bronze medal and I will be here to support the team in any way I can to help us get it done.”

Still, Naeher’s contributions were critical to the U.S.’s success. She played hero against the Netherlands last week to help her team stay in contention for a medal. In that match, Naeher blocked three penalty kicks to secure a 3-2 victory.

Naeher now adds an Olympic bronze medal to her ever-growing trophy shelf. She previously helped the U.S. win the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup alongside fellow Nittany Lion Ali Krieger.

This was the USWNT’s seventh Olympic appearance and its sixth overall Olympic medal. The team has won four golds, two silvers, and now, a bronze.

Elsewhere at the Olympics, a few more Penn Staters have already claimed medals. Wrestling legend David Taylor completed a last-minute comeback to win gold, while shot put star Joe Kovacs claimed silver, falling just behind an Olympic record-winner.

Current Penn State women’s soccer coach Erica Dambach also won a medal Thursday. She served as an assistant coach with the USWNT this summer.

Naeher currently plays with the National Women’s Soccer League’s Chicago Red Stars. She shined at Penn State from 2006 to 2009 while starting 74 matches for the Nittany Lions.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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