With the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea set to commence Nov. 13, the University of Pittsburgh will have two student-athletes represent their countries in goalkeeper Amaia Peña and midfielder Ashley Moreira.
Peña, who joined the Panthers this summer following a stint with the U19 team at the European Championships, will represent her home country of Spain. Moreira, who helped Canada to a U20 World Cup berth in December, will return to the field with her country.
With senior keeper Taylor Francis keeping a firm hold in the net for the Panthers, Peña has not seen game action as a member of the Panther squad. In addition to her time with the U19 team, she also competed with the U17 team, having appeared in six matches to bring Spain to a 5-2 victory over Switzerland in the UEFA U17 Championship final in 2015.
With the U19 team, she led the Spaniards to the championship game, where they fell to France 2-1 in a four-hour contested which was interrupted by inclement weather.
“Amaia has been the best goalkeeper in Spain in her age group for a few years now,” said head coach Greg Miller. “Now she will be representing Spain at the U20 World Cup, which is a tremendous honor. Since she joined us in August, Amaia has made significant strides in her game that will enable her to be an impact in this tournament. As with Ashley, we are proud she will be representing Pitt as well as her country.”
In December of 2015, Moreira laced up with the Canadian squad, guiding them to a berth in the U20 World Cup. Canada would finish second to the United States in the Honduras qualifier, as Moreira collected 390 minutes, appearing in four of the team’s five contests.
Moreira did not see playing time for the Panthers this season as she elected to take a redshirt. In her career with Pitt, she has appeared in 36 games, recording 2,789 minutes. Additionally, she has scored one goal and added five assists including a game-winning overtime goal at Colorado College in 2015.
“We’re really proud of Ashley,” added Miller. “She has worked extremely hard and made a lot of sacrifices to position herself for this great opportunity. To be able to represent her country at a World Cup is a dream come true for her, and we’re so proud she is representing our program as well.”
The FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup will get underway Nov. 13 with the final set for Dec. 3 in Papua New Guinea. For more information, click here.