2 former Penn State players on Women’s World Cup roster
Former Penn State players Ali Krieger and Alyssa Naeher were among the 23 players named to the U.S. soccer roster that will compete in the Women’s World Cup this summer in France.
Krieger, a 34-year-old right back, will be playing in her third World Cup and helped the 2015 team to the title. The 2006 Penn State graduate has appeared in 99 matches for the national team.
“I knew there would be another opportunity, or at least a small chance, and I wanted to make sure I was fully prepared for that chance,” Krieger said. “I never lost sight of trying to play at the World Cup, and if I didn’t make it, I could be satisfied that at least I did everything I could to have a chance.”
Naeher, a 31-year-old goalkeeper who graduated in 2009, also played on the 2015 team.
Both were three-time All-Americans for the Nittany Lions.
Pine-Richland graduate Meghan Klingenberg, who started for the 2015 team, did not make the roster.
Krieger was considered on the roster bubble, along with midfielders Allie Long and Morgan Brian, who also made the team. Krieger started against Belgium on April 7, her first appearance since an exhibition against Russia on April 6, 2017.
Brian, the youngest player on the squad for the 2015 World Cup, has struggled with injuries in recent years and has played just once this year, in a January exhibition against France. But the 26-year-old has experience, with 78 international appearances.
Long, 31, has been in and out of the national team after making playing in the 2016 Olympics.
Coach Jill Ellis said players “challenged the coaches to make some tough decisions.”
“These 23 players have been through adversity and success, and it’s a group that has the talent, confidence, experience and desire to help us win the World Cup,” the coach said in a statement.
The tournament in France starts June 7, and the U.S. has first-round matches against Thailand, Chile and Sweden.
Carli Lloyd made her fourth World Cup squad, most among the players picked Thursday.
Lloyd, 36, scored three goals in the Americans’ 5-2 victory over Japan in the 2015 World Cup final in Canada, but she likely will have a support role in France, playing off the bench. The oldest player on the roster, she is among nine U.S. women to have played in four or more World Cups.
“Even though this is my fourth World Cup roster, it’s just as special as the first one I was named to. It’s a different chapter of my career,” Lloyd said.
Defender Tierna Davidson, the U.S. Soccer Federation’s 2018 Young Player of the Year, is the youngest player on the roster at 20. Davidson skipped her senior season at Stanford and was taken with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s National Women’s Soccer League draft by the Chicago Red Stars.
In addition to Krieger, defenders Kelley O’Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn made their third World Cup team, joining forwards Tobin Heath, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe.
Crystal Dunn, the last player left off the roster for the 2015 World Cup, had 15 goals in the NWSL that year and is among 11 Americans headed to their first World Cup.
Players who didn’t make the roster but were also thought to be on the bubble were midfielders McCall Zerboni and Andi Sullivan, and defender Casey Short.
The roster must be submitted to FIFA by May 24.
Goalkeepers: Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars).
Defenders: Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (NC Courage), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns).
Midfielders: Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit), Allie Long (Reign), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage).
Forwards: Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue), Jessica McDonald (NC Courage), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Utah Royals), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit), Megan Rapinoe (Reign).