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Britt Eckerstrom, Mallory Weber join Western New York Flash; Raquel Rodriguez selected No. 2 by Sky Blue FC
Lions staff an invaluable asset to head coach Erica Walsh
Ann Cook enters her 11th season with the Nittany Lions in 2017. This will also be the 11th season that Cook will be coaching with former teammate and friend Erica (Walsh) Dambach. The two combined for many wins on the field at William & Mary and have shown their prowess on the sidelines together, as they led the Nittany Lions to the program’s first NCAA title in 2015, two College Cup appearances (2012 & 2015), nine Big Ten titles (2007-12 & 2014-16) and 10 NCAA Tournament appearances (2007-16).
As the associate head coach, Cook is the director of player development and is in charge of the Nittany Lion attack. Since she has been with the Blue & White, Penn State has had one of the most prolific attacks in the country. Prior to the start of the 2017 season, the Nittany Lions tallied the second-most goals in the country from 2011-16. Under the guidance of Cook, four Nittany Lions have scored 100 or more points over their careers. Maya Hayes finished her Nittany Lion career with 163 points (71g, 21a), which ranks third-best in school history.
Most recently, Mallory Weber became the 10th Nittany Lion to eclipse the century mark in points during the 2015 season. Weber ended her career at Penn State in 10th with 101 points on 36 goals and 29 assists. In just the last five years, the Nittany Lion attack has produced six players who have been drafted by the National Women’s Soccer League.
Throughout her time at Penn State, Cook has been involved in the organization Soccer Without Borders (SWB) and currently serves as a member of its advisory board. SWB’s mission is to use soccer as a vehicle for positive change in the lives of under-served youth around the world and has project sites in the U.S. as well as in Africa and Central America. Cook has been most involved with its project for girls in Granada, Nicaragua.
As an early assistant project director for SWB, she helped establish what is now a thriving year-round program there. Cook has accompanied Penn State student-athletes there on multiple occasions and intends to take the entire team to Nicaragua for spring break 2018 to run camps and clinics for girls as well as coaches’ clinics. They will also train with and play against the Nicaraguan National Team.
Because of her time with Soccer Without Borders, Cook has worked with the U.S. State Department on projects in Nicaragua and in Egypt. She also was given the incredible opportunity to go to Papua New Guinea to help the PNG U-20 National Team prepare for the 2016 World Cup.
Prior to PSU, Cook was an assistant coach at Nebraska from 2005-2007 and at Missouri State from 2004-2005. As the head coach at Drury University from 1999-2000, Cook oversaw Drury’s transition from NCAA Division II to Division I. Her squad ranked No. 5 in the NCAA Division I poll among new programs in 1999.
A three-time All-American, Cook played for the College of William & Mary from 1993-97. In the mix for the Hermann Trophy in both 1995 and 1997, she was the 1997 CAA Conference Player of the Year and CAA Conference Tournament MVP. The Tribe made appearances in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals two of Cook’s four seasons and concluded the seasons ranked in the top five nationally.
Active with the U.S. National Team programs, Cook was a member of the U.S. Under-20 team from 1993-95 and played with the full national team in 1998. Professionally, Cook was a fourth-round draft pick (25th overall in the global draft) by the Bay Area CyberRays of the WUSA in 2000.
A member of the team that won the WUSA’s inaugural season championship in 2001, she was traded in December of that year to the Washington Freedom, which eventually finished as the 2002 league runners-up. Cook moved to coaching full-time when the WUSA folded after the 2003 season.