PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania women’s soccer team has lost freshman Ana Chevtchenko from its roster for this weekend's matches at William & Mary and Old Dominion, but for a pretty good reason. The midfielder has been called to Russia’s full national team for its first World Cup 2015 qualifier, against two-time champion Germany this Saturday. The teams will kick off at 3 p.m. local time (9 a.m. Eastern) at the Freundschaft in Cottbus, Germany.
"We are really proud of Ana and her callup for the World Cup qualifier," said Penn's head coach, Darren Ambrose. "We knew in recruiting that her international career was important to her. I think the experience she gains from it will help her in the college game and her time at Penn. We couldn't be happier for her -- representing your country is the highest honor you can get in any sport, and it is one that I am sure she will enjoy."
Chevtchenko grew up in Portland, Oregon, but has dual Russian citizenship which makes her eligible to play for Russia’s national team. She grew up playing for a number of Russia’s junior national teams.
The Women’s World Cup will take place from June 6-July 5 in 2015, with Canada as the host. Edmonton, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver are the cities that will host matches. The World Cup field has increased to 24 nations, eight of which will come from Europe. In 2011, Japan defeated the United States for the title.
Russia is in the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Group 1 along with Germany -- which has also won the last six European Championship titles -- Ireland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia. Russia’s next World Cup qualifier will take place on October 31 against Slovakia.
UEFA’s 42 hopefuls are competing in seven groups between now and next September, with only the group winners guaranteed a ticket to Canada. After that, the four group runners-ups with the best record against the sides finishing first, third, fourth and fifth in their groups go into the playoffs for the one remaining UEFA berth. The playoff matches will be held from October 25-26 and 29-30 as well as November 22-23 and 26-27.
Penn, meanwhile, puts it unbeaten, untied record on the line this weekendwith the Tribe on Friday at 7 p.m. and then the Monarchs on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Quakers (4-0-0) have won all four of their matches this season by shutout, and are the only Division I program in the country which has yet to concede a goal.