The U.S. Women’s National Team played its final match of 2023 on Tuesday night, a friendly with China that ended in a 2-1 U.S. victory. The Americans actually trailed 1-0 in the second half before midfielder Sam Coffey ’20 Com tied the game in the 62nd minute with a one-time curler into the top corner—her first international goal in just her seventh appearance with the national team.
As a regular at women’s (and men’s) soccer games at Jeffrey Field, I always enjoy seeing former Nittany Lions excel at the highest levels of the game. But Sam is unique in her connections to the magazine: Back in 2021, she wrote our My Thoughts Exactly essay about the experience of coming back for an extra year of eligibility, sharing the emotions of so many athletes who saw seasons cut short or canceled during the early days of the pandemic. Writing runs in the family: Sam’s father, Wayne, is an accomplished writer and author who did a terrific job detailing the history of the Penn State meteorology program in our March/April 2023 issue.
Anyway, congrats to Sam on the milestone, and extra credit for the timing: Tuesday night’s match just happened to be the night the USWNT honored fellow Penn State great Ali Krieger ’07 Com on her recent retirement. You can read our 2021 cover feature on Ali here.