Media reports claim the world-champion United States team will play two friendlies against the Football Ferns in New Zealand in January.
The Washington Post reports that the US national team will hold a January training camp in New Zealand as part of their preparation for the FIFA Women’s World Cup to be co-hosted in Australia and New Zealand in July/August.
Locally, Stuff football writer Phillip Rollo says he understands NZ Football and US Soccer are close to confirming two fixtures between the teams in Auckland and Wellington in late January.
In a statement to Stuff, NZ Football said: “New Zealand Football is in negotiations with a number of parties for games for our national teams in 2023, but as yet nothing is confirmed.
“Details about the Ford Football Ferns’ final preparation programme for their home World Cup campaign will be announced in due course.”
Champions looking for nine ‘tune-up’ games
The Washington Post says US head coach Vlatko Andonovski wants his team to have nine “tune-up” games ahead of the world cup tournament, in which they’ll play two pool games in Auckland and one in Wellington.
Most of his players will not be required for their clubs in January so despite there being no international window, he’ll have a near-strength squad available for a New Zealand camp.
However, Football Ferns coach Jitka Klimková might face issues in pulling together a full-strength side as many Ferns will be required by their clubs who would not be obligated to release them outside of a FIFA window.
The Ferns will play two games against Korea Republic in Christchurch on November 11 and 15, as they build towards the World Cup.
The US team faces two games against Germany and have named a squad that could be similar to any brought to New Zealand in January.
Current US squad
Goalkeepers: Adrianna Franch (Kansas City Current), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars).
Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Hailie Mace (Kansas City), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland).
Midfielders: Sam Coffey (Portland), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyonnais), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington).
Forwards: Ashley Hatch (Washington), Alex Morgan (San Diego), Mallory Pugh (Chicago), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington), Sophia Smith (Portland), Alyssa Thompson (Total Futbol Academy).
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The US team management have been checking out potential team bases in Auckland and Wellington.