Penn State sophomore Mallory Weber and freshman Brittany Basinger have been selected as two members of a 20-player U.S. roster for the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship, the under-20 women’s national team announced on Tuesday evening.
Penn State coach Erica Walsh will also play a role on the team, acting as assistant coach under first-year head coach Michelle French.
“It is a huge honor to represent your country,” said Walsh. “To have two Penn State athletes named to this team speaks volumes about their quality as a player and as a person, as well as the environment that they train in on a daily basis.”
The CONCACAF U-20 Championship will be held from Jan. 9-19 in George Town, Cayman Islands. The tournament features eight nations divided into two groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will qualify for the semifinals, with the winners of those games, along with the winner of the third place match, earning berths to the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada.
Weber and Basinger are just the fourth and fifth PSU athletes to be selected for the U-20 CONCACAF Championship roster, joining the likes of two-time selections Maya Hayes (2010, 2012) and Christine Nairn (2008, 2010) and 2008 selection Alyssa Naeher.
Weber will be one-of six midfielders on the U-20 team. The sophomore posted seven goals and 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.
“Having the opportunity to work with Michelle French and the staff involved with the U-20 team is a great honor,” said Walsh. “I am really looking forward to working with players at the national team level.”
The USA opens Group A play on Jan. 9 against Costa Rica, faces Jamaica on Jan. 11 and finishes the group against Guatemala on Jan. 13. The winner of Group A will meet the Group B runner-up, and vice versa, in the semifinal matches on Jan. 17, and the Championship and Third-Place Matches will take place on Jan. 19. All three of the USA’s group games kick off at 7:30 p.m. and the tournament will be played entirely at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.