May 11, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The United States Under-20 Women’s National Team will travel to Papua New Guinea from May 21-June 1 for a training camp and matches, with University of Notre Dame standouts Sabrina Flores and Natalie Jacobs earning roster spots for what will serve as a test run ahead of the 2016 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will be held at the same site.
The camp will be the seventh call-in for Flores for this training cycle (since October 2014) and the 11th for Jacobs. Both played a part on the squad during World Cup qualifying in December 2015, as the team captured the CONCACAF Championship and an automatic World Cup bid. Jacobs was named the tournament’s Best XI team following the 1-0 championship match win over Canada.
The USA will face the Japan U-20 WNT on May 27 and the Papua New Guinea U-20 WNT on May 30. Both matches will take place in the capital of Port Moresby, the site of all 32 matches of the World Cup, which will be held November 13-December 3.
Flores and Jacobs are two of 21 players head coach Michelle French will bring to Papua New Guinea, which is located north of Australia. The U.S. is one of 16 World Cup qualifiers, with the field divided into four groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will advance to the quarterfinal stage with single elimination to the championship.
The U.S. will face France, New Zealand and Ghana in Group C, opening against France on Monday, November 14. They will play New Zealand on Thursday, November 17 and wrap group play against Ghana on Monday, November 21.
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, and earned her master’s degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University in 2013.