Nittany Lions Well-Represented in NWSL
April 27, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State women's soccer has been a leader in the collegiate soccer world ever since the program was formed in 1994 and its influence has spread to the professional ranks as the Nittany Lions are now the second most represented program in the National Women's Soccer League, along with West Coast dynamo Portland. PSU has produced 10 current professional players, second only to women's soccer powerhouse North Carolina, which has produced 19.
The NWSL is in its second season of operation and is made up of nine teams spread across the country, five of which have at least one former Nittany Lion on the roster.
The Blue and White are heavily represented on the Boston Breakers club with four members currently on the squad, including forward Katie Schoepfer (2006-09), midfielders Joanna Lohman (2000-03) and Maddy Evans (2009-12) and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher (2006-09).
The Washington Spirit also has multiple Penn Staters with forward Tiffany Weimer (2002-05), midfielder Christine Nairn (2009-12) and defender Ali Krieger (2003-06) listed on the roster.
Defender Carmelina Moscato (2002-05) represents the Lions as a member of Seattle Reign FC, goalkeeper Erin McLeod (2004-05) plays for the Houston Dash and forward Maya Hayes (2010-13) became the most recent professional Penn State product after being chosen as the sixth overall draft pick by Sky Blue FC earlier this year.
Forward Boston Breakers
Schoepfer made a lasting impression on the Penn State record books during her four-year career as a Nittany Lion. The forward owns the No. 6 spot on PSU's career goals list with 48 and also earned a spot on the career assists ledger at No. 7 with 26 helpers. Schoepfer was a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy in 2009, a two-time NSCAA All-American and a three-time first team All-Big Ten selection.
She has also been successful at the professional level, earning 37 starts in Boston through three seasons. Schoepfer has scored 11 goals and tallied nine assists for the Breakers thus far.
Midfield Boston Breakers
Lohman was a key player for the Nittany Lions from the time she arrived in Happy Valley, making starts in all 101 matches that PSU played in her four-year career. Lohman holds the No. 3 spot in Penn State's career assists record book with 37 and netted a PSU eighth-best 41 goals. The midfielder helped lead the Lions to their second NCAA College Cup appearance in 2002, notching 10 goals and 11 assists throughout the season. She was a runner-up for the MAC Hermann Trophy in 2003, a three-time NSCAA All-American and a four-time first team All-Big Ten honoree.
Lohman has seen similar success at the professional and national levels. The Midfielder earned nine caps with the U.S. Women's National Team from 2001-07 after debuting with the team during the 2001 Algarve Cup match vs. Italy. Professionally, Lohman was a member of eight different clubs before joining the Boston Breakers in 2013. She was one of three players to appear in all 22 games for the Breakers in 2013, making 21 starts, and scored two goals. In addition to being a current member of the Boston Breakers, Lohmann is on loan to Cypriot First Division club Appollon Limassol.
Midfield Boston Breakers
Evans played an important leadership role for the Nittany Lions throughout her career as she was named a team captain in 2012. The midfielder saw action in 88 games and made 63 starts in her four seasons, including all 27 matches in 2012 as she helped lead the Blue and White to their first-ever National Championship appearance. Evans notched nine goals and 11 assists throughout her career and earned second team All-Big Ten laurels for her efforts during her senior campaign.
The Philadelphia native was signed to the Boston Breakers as a free agent in May 2013 and made her professional debut on June 1, 2013 vs. Sky Blue FC. Evans appeared in 11 games in her rookie season and has seen action in the first two games of the 2014 season.
Goalkeeper Boston Breakers
Naeher is one of the best goalkeepers to ever wear the Blue and White and has sprinkled the record books with her achievements. The keeper is second in second in career saves after collecting 359 in 88 games and also ranks second in shutouts (30) and minutes played (7,952) and is third in goals against average (0.91). Naeher was a three-time NSCAA All-American and three-time first team All-Big Ten selection.
In her professional career, Naeher has played for two different teams, including two separate stints with the Breakers. She totaled 168 saves in her first two seasons with the Breakers from 2010-11, including a franchise-record 99 saves in 2011 to lead the Women's Professional Soccer league. Was a member of 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam from 2011-13 and posted a 29-6-3 record with 21 shutouts. Helped lead the team to a berth into the 2013-14 Champions League in 2012-13 before rejoining the Boston Breakers as a free agent in May 2013. Saw action in nine matches, starting eight, during the 2013 NWSL season, finishing with a 4-2-2 record and a team-high two shutouts.
Forward Washington Spirit
Weimer finished her career at Penn State as the most prolific scorer in program history and still holds the record almost 10 years later. The two-time MAC Hermann Trophy runner-up and three-time NSCAA All-American netted 91 goals in her four-year career, which stands as the Big Ten record and the 10th most in NCAA Division I history. Weimer also ranks second in the Penn State and Big Ten record books in points, as she totaled 214.
Weimer began her professional career in 2007 as a member of the SoccerPlus Connecticut Reds of the Women's Premier Soccer League and was named the WPSL East Player of the Year in her rookie season. The forward went to five other teams before joining Danish Elitedivisionen team Fortuna Hjørring for the 2012-13 season, where she tallied a team-high 11 goals during the regular season to help the club to a second place finish and a Round of 16 appearance at the UEFA Women's Champions League Tournament. Weimer joined the Portland Thorns midway through the 2013 season, making her NWSL debut against Sky Blue FC on June 22. The Bridgeport, Conn. native notched one goal and one assist in 10 games for the Thorns. She joined the Washington Spirit after the 2013 season as a trade from the Thorns.
Midfield Washington Spirit
Nairn was a standout for the Nittany Lions as an attacking midfielder. The Annapolis, Md. native turned in the second most assists in PSU history, dishing out 41 career helpers. She helped lead the Nittany Lions to their first-ever National Championship appearance in 2012, tallying a team-best 17 goals and 12 assists.
Nairn earned two caps with the U.S. Women's National Team in 2009 and scored the game-winning goal in a match against Canada on July 22. She was the seventh overall pick in the 2013 NWSL Draft by the Seattle Reign FC. The midfielder finished her rookie campaign with three goals and a team-high five assists. She was traded to the Washington Spirit in November 2013 and has scored two goals in two starts in 2014.
Defense Washington Spirit
Krieger was a top midfielder and defender for Penn State from 2002 to 2006, making 94 starts throughout her career. She helped lead the Blue and White to their third NCAA College Cup appearance in 2005 as a midfielder and earned NSCAA first team All-America honors for her efforts. Krieger moved to defense for her senior season and was named an All-American for the second consecutive season on top of being named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy.
Krieger has seen great success at the professional and national levels. She has been a member of the U.S. Women's National Team since 2008 and has 45 caps with the squad. Krieger helped the Americans reach the FIFA Women's World Cup Final in 2011 as one of only four players to start and play all 600 minutes of the tournament, earning Fox Soccer's Best 11 laurels as the best right back in the FIFA Women's World Cup. The Woodbridge, Virginia native has been a member of several professional teams, most notably FFC Frankfurt, where she appeared in 63 matches in five seasons. She was allocated to the Washington Spirit for the inaugural season of the NWSL in 2013. Krieger appeared in 18 games, starting 16, in her first season with the Spirit at the outside back and midfield positions.
Defense Seattle Reign FC
Moscato was a fixture on the Penn State backline during her four-year career as a Nittany Lion. The defender helped lead the Blue and White to two NCAA College Cup appearances in 2002 and 2005 and received Soccer Buzz All-Mid-Atlantic Region honors in 2005.
Moscato has earned 80 caps for the Canada Women's National Soccer team since making her debut in April 2002 against Australia. The Mississauga, Ontario native helped the Canadians to a bronze medal finish at the 2012 Summer Olympic in London. Moscato began her professional career in 2009 with UPC Tavagnacco in Italy's Serie A. She saw action in 15 matches as a defender, scoring once. Moscato also played for Piteå IF in the Swedish Damallsvenskan before joining the Chicago Red Stars for the inaugural season of the NWSL. She made five appearances for the club before being traded to the Boston Breakers halfway through the season, where she played in five additional games. Moscato joined Seattle Reign FC in September 2013.
Goalkeeper Houston Dash
McLeod was only a member of the Penn State squad for two seasons but made a big impact during her time in Happy Valley. She made 43 starts in goal and owns the Penn State career-winning percentage record (.921) after posting a mark of 39-2-3. She also holds the PSU goals against average record after allowing just 29 goals in 4,073 minutes of playing time for an average of 0.64. McLeod posted 20 shutouts in her two-year career and garnered NSCAA All-America status and first team All-Big Ten laurels both seasons.
McLeod has 94 caps with the Canada Women's National Team, including starting roles at the 2012 Summer Olympics, 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, 2008 Summer Olympics and 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup. The goalkeeper played for the Washington Freedom in the Women's Professional Soccer league from 2009 to 2010 and joined the Chicago Red Stars for the inaugural season of the NWSL in 2013, making 16 starts and posting a 5-6-5 record with four shutouts and 64 saves. McLeod was acquired by the Houston Dash in January 2014 and has started both matches for the Dash in 2014.
Forward Sky Blue FC
The most recent Nittany Lion to turn pro, Hayes was a phenomenal forward for Penn State from 2010 to 2013. Hayes started 81 matches for the Blue and White and finished her career as the third-highest scorer in program history with 71 goals and 21 assists for 163 points. Hayes broke the Big Ten record for single-season points during her sophomore campaign as she churned out 31 goals and eight assists for 70 points. Hayes was a runner-up for the MAC Hermann Trophy in 2011 and a semifinalist for the award in 2012 and 2013. The forward was also a three-time NSCAA All-American and three-time first team All-Big Ten honoree.
Hayes' professional aspirations became a reality in January 2014 as she was chosen as the sixth overall draft pick by Sky Blue FC, the second highest draft pick in PSU history. The West Orange, N.J. native has started both games for Sky Blue in the 2014 season.