clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

SSFC Spotlight: Korbin Albert gets her shot at the USWNT

The Europe-based midfielder was called into camp for China friendlies.

Syndication: Notre Dame Insider MATT CASHORE / USA TODAY NETWORK

United States Women’s National Team interim head coach Twila Kilgore selected a 26-player roster for the December friendlies against China. The group features a mix of veterans and newcomers as the program looks to build towards next summer’s Olympic Games in the hopes of claiming a fifth gold medal. Korbin Albert is one of the new names in the USWNT camp and should receive the opportunity to showcase her abilities with the changing squad. The 20-year-old Paris Saint-Germain midfielder moved to France after a stellar collegiate career and has rapidly become a key performer.

Born in the Chicago suburb of Grayslake, Illinois, Albert, the youngest of six siblings, competed in local Croatian leagues and with Eclipse Select Soccer Club. She was named ECNL Midwest Player of the Year for the 2018-19 and 2020-21 seasons and earned multiple All-American and Best XI citations. The COVID-19 pandemic provided her with the opportunity to focus on development, working on “angles to goals” and other aspects of her game. Top Drawer Soccer rated her as a four-star recruit with a host of programs pursuing her commitment.

Graduating high school in three years, Albert reclassified from the class of 2022 to 2021 and matriculated to the University of Notre Dame, embarking on a brief but prolific collegiate career that led to her being dubbed “one of the best to don an Irish soccer uniform.” In her freshman season, she contributed 12 goals and four assists in 22 matches, earning a bevy of accolades such as Third Team All-ACC, ACC All-Freshman Team, Top Drawer Soccer Freshman Best XI, and United Soccer Coaches Second Team All-Region. Following a summer with Cleveland Ambassadors in the WPSL, her sophomore year featured stronger production with 16 goals and five assists in 22 appearances, reaching the quarterfinal round of the NCAA tournament; the ensuing deluge of honors included Top Drawer Soccer Player of the Year, United Soccer Coaches First Team All-American, ACC Midfielder of the Year, All-ACC First Team, and ACC All-Tournament Team, while also being named a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy.

Departing South Bend, Albert moved abroad and signed with Paris Saint-Germain on a two-and-a-half-year contract through June of 2025. “I spoke with the coach and I could feel that he wanted me in his team,” Albert told the club’s official website. “That’s what pushed me to accept this new challenge. I obviously want to make him happy, and the team and fans happy, and do everything I can to help the team improve. If that means doing something that is outside my comfort zone, I will do it.”

In her first half-season with Les Parisiennes (The Parisians), Albert made ten total appearances across all competitions as Paris Saint-Germain finished as runners-up in Division 1 Féminine and the Coupe de France Féminine. This year, Albert has featured in 12 matches, including four Champions League fixtures. While yet to score, her debut professional goal appears to be drawing ever closer for the long-shooting midfielder.

As expected from a player of her pedigree, Albert is a long-tenured member of the United States program, including with the Futsal National Team. She featured in two matches at the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, a run that ended in the group stage. Named to the senior roster for the first time for the upcoming friendlies against China, the 20-year-old is one of three players based outside of the National Women’s Soccer League.

“When I first took over as interim, one of the first things that we did with the provisional roster was add Korbin,” said Kilgore, the interim manager. “She’s somebody that we’ve been watching, in terms of the whole technical staff, for a good amount of time now. Her roles have been increasing with her club. Obviously she’s getting good Champions League games... Emma [Hayes] and I were in agreement that this was the right next step for both Korbin and the team.”

Standing a little under 5’8”, Albert is an ambidextrous midfielder who can line up in the holding, central, and attacking roles, describing her best qualities as “finding [her] teammates” and “getting forward with the ball.” She is praised for being able to “strike the ball with power and placement with either foot, and with minimal backswing” while also possessing “quick enough feet to play shell games with panicked defenders.” Her most idiosyncratic ability is the constant barrage of shots from long distance, testing and beating opposing goalkeepers with ease.

“She is a very dynamic midfielder with attacking traits that include excellent dribbling abilities, good passing skills and powerful shooting abilities, especially from distance,” wrote Selim Ben Hmida for Total Football Analysis. “Albert is known for mastering shooting techniques in a way that allows her to score beautiful goals with elegance, even when she dribbles before shooting... In addition to being completely unpredictable in terms of when and how she shoots, Albert uses her left foot in a remarkable way when she finds herself in situations that oblige her to use her left foot for shooting... Another remarkable trait that differentiates Albert from other midfielders is her ability to run very fast while still being able to dribble and pass the ball accurately, making her accelerations and penetration attempts a lot more dangerous and effective.”

With changes coming to the national team, Albert has the opportunity to claim a position in the newly established depth chart, ideally earning her debut cap against China. While the Olympics is rapidly approaching, her time may, in fact, come a little bit later during the upcoming World Cup cycle. She is still less than a full season into her professional career and will continue to develop for several years, building on her potential and a high level of performance at the amateur level.