|Follow PSU Women's Soccer:||Follow @PennStateWSOC|
Jan. 8, 2014
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands - Penn State women's soccer sophomore Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.) and freshman Brittany Basinger (Purcellville, Va.) have spent the last week in the Cayman Islands training for the start of the U-20 CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) Tournament. Weber and Basinger are two members of a 20-player squad that will compete for a chance to participate in the U-20 World Cup, which will be held in Canada this August. Nittany Lion head coach Erica Walsh also has a role on the team, acting as assistant coach under first-year head coach Michelle French.
"After just six days of training, the team is really starting to come together," said Walsh. "Brittany's previous World Cup experience with the U-17 team has prepared her for this event and Mallory is now starting to find her stride in this environment. With only the top three teams from the CONCACAF region advancing to the World Cup, it is crucial for us to come out strong in group play."
The U.S. team opens up tournament play against Costa Rica on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (ET) at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex. The Americans will face Jamaica on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and wrap up Group A play vs. Guatemala at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.
Weber will be one-of-six midfielders on the U-20 team. The sophomore netted seven goals and notched eight assists for the Blue and White during the 2013 season, starting all 23 matches. She was third on the team in points (27) and turned in over 1,600 minutes of playing time en route to earning first team All-Big Ten accolades.
Basinger is one-of-six defenders on the squad. The freshman standout started all 23 matches for the Nittany Lions during her rookie campaign, logging over 1,700 minutes for the PSU backline while also adding two assists on the offensive end. Basinger's efforts were recognized at the end of the regular season as she was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team.
This will be Walsh's first time working with the U-20 team. She previously assisted the U-19 team (2004) before FIFA raised the age of the team to 20 in 2005 and was an assistant coach for the U.S. Women's National Team from 2008-2012. She was also the head coach for the U-17 squad from 2004-07.
The semifinals will take place on Friday, Jan. 17 and the championship match is set for Sunday, Jan. 19. Fans can watch the action live on Fox Soccer 2GO by visiting foxsoccer2go.com and entering promo code "U20WNT" on the registration page to access the offer. The promo code must be activated between Wednesday, Jan. 8 and Monday, Jan. 20 and is good for 14 days of free access to all live and full match replay streams. For more information on how to access the live stream, please visit ussoccer.com/news/u-20-wnt/2014/01/140107-concacaf-champ-promo-code-rel.aspx.
GoPSUsports.com will post recaps following each match to track the Nittany Lion duo's progress with the U.S. U-20 team in the Cayman Islands.