Feb. 29, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Katie Naughton and Natalie Jacobs are no strangers to the world soccer stage. The two will once again don Team USA colors this week after receiving call-ins by the United States Under-23 and U-20 Women’s National Teams, respectively.
Naughton, who has before played with the U.S. U-20 team, will head to Croatia with the U-23 squad to compete in the eight-team Istria Cup from March 2-7. Jacobs, who played with the U-20s throughout World Cup qualifying this winter, will rejoin the team as it continues to its preparations at the 2016 U-23 La Manga Tournament March 2-6.
Naughton, of Elk Grove Village, Illinois, was selected 19th overall by the Chicago Red Stars in January’s NWSL College Draft, and is one of 11 NWSL players called up by coach Janet Rayfield. A three-time captain at Notre Dame, Naughton graduated in December with degrees in anthropology and Spanish, having been named a two-time All-ACC second team honoree and three-time NSCAA All-Southeast Region team selection.
The U.S. will play three matches at the Istria Cup, opening against the full Slovenia Women’s National Team (March 2) and going on to face the Poland U-19 squad (March 4) and the France National “B” Team (March 7).
Jacobs, from Coto de Caza, California, is fresh off a stellar rookie season for the Irish, which she has extended to an impressive run with the U-20 national squad. The sophomore-to-be scored four goals, tallied five assists and fired 52 shots for the Irish as a forward last season, earning All-ACC Freshman Team recognition. Jacobs tallied extensive minutes as a central defender for coach Michelle French’s U-20s this winter, as well, helping lead the U.S. to the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Champioship in December and earning a spot on the CONCACAF Best XI team.
At the La Manga Tournament, the U-20s will face U-23 squads from Sweden (March 2), England (March 4) and Norway (March 6). Jacobs has the second-most caps of anyone on the roster with 11, just behind Beach FC midfielder Savanah DeMelo’s 12.
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant 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 and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.