Dambach and Naeher Set to Open Tokyo Olympics Wednesday

TOKYO, Japan - Penn State women's soccer head coach Erica Dambach and alumna Alyssa Naeher ('09) are slated to begin the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games on Wednesday, July 21. Dambach continues her affiliation with the USWNT with her second appointment as an assistant coach for the Olympic Games, her first coming as part of the U.S. team that won a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This is the second Olympic Games for Naeher, who was rostered for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro..

Dambach spent part of 2020 with the USWNT in preparation for the Tokyo Games with previous experience as an assistant coach with the 2012 U.S. Women's Olympic squad through the qualifying stage and with the 2011 USWNT at the FIFA World Cup in Germany. From December 2013 through 2014, she was the assistant coach for the U-20 Women's National Team. Dambach's extensive experience with the U.S. National Team includes four years as the head coach for the U.S. U-17 Women's National Team as well as assisting the U.S. U-19 Women's National Team in 2004.

A two-time National Coach of the Year and five-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, Dambach has accumulated 231 wins in 14 seasons at Penn State with the program's first National Championship in 2015, 14-straight NCAA Tournament appearances and 11 Big Ten regular-season titles.

Dambach's leadership has produced rosters of student-athletes committed to excellence on the field and in the classroom. Nittany Lions have earned the highest recognition in the collegiate game with a MAC Hermann Trophy winner along with two finalists and 10 semifinalists, 18 All-America selections, 14 Scholar All-Americans and 15 Big Ten Player of the Year awards.

Penn State women's soccer added a 20th regular-season Big Ten Championship trophy in 2020-21 and the Nittany Lions made their 26th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and recorded a double-digit win total for the 27th-straight season (12-3-1). The Nittany Lions claimed four major Big Ten awards in 2020-21 as Ally Schlegel was named the Forward of the Year, Sam Coffey Midfielder of the Year and Eva Alonso a Co-Freshman of the Year. Dambach earned 2020-21 Big Ten Coach of the Year, and the Penn State coaching staff was selected by the United Soccer Coaches as the North Regional Staff of the Year.

Naeher enters the Olympic games with 73 CAPS and 43 cleansheets in goal for the U.S. She captivated the world with her penalty kick save to preserve a 2-1 lead vs. England and help the U.S. continue its run to the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup Championship.

Naeher was named the 2014 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year with 106 saves in 24 games for the Boston Breakers which helped her secure a spot on Team USA's 2015 World Cup team. Her NWSL accolades include First XI recognition in 2014 and Second XI honors in 2016 and 2019.

Captain of the Nittany Lions as a senior, Naeher earned All-America honors at Penn State three times with first-team nods in 2007 and 2008. She was selected as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2007 and 2009.

The U.S. schedule for group play is listed below:

Wednesday, July 21 – 4:30 a.m. ET vs. Sweden

Saturday, July 24 – 7:30 a.m. ET vs. New Zealand

Tuesday, July 27 – 4:00 a.m. ET vs. Australia

Alumna Erin McLeod is also slated as an alternate for team Canada.