USWNT to hold January 2023 training camp in New Zealand
CHICAGO – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Vlatko Andonovski will hold the USA’s January training camp in New Zealand and it will be capped by two matches against the Football Ferns, the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup co-hosts.
These will be the first-ever matches in New Zealand for the U.S. Women’s National Team.
The USWNT will train in New Zealand for six days before facing the Ferns on January 18 at Sky Stadium in Wellington / Te Whanganui-a-Tara. The match will kick off at 4 p.m. local time, which will be 10 p.m. ET on January 17 in the United States. The teams meet again on January 21 at Eden Park in Auckland / Tāmaki Makaurau, also at 4 p.m. local, which will be 10 p.m. ET on January 20 in the USA. With a new broadcast partner coming on board with U.S. Soccer in 2023, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports will exclusively present these matches, with specific distribution plans to be announced at a later date.
The trip gives the U.S. players the rare chance to play full international matches at the venues which just six months later will host all three of the USWNT group games at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
On October 22 at the Women’s World Cup Final Draw in Auckland / Tāmaki Makaurau, the USA was placed into Group E, which meant it would face Vietnam on July 22 at Eden Park, the Netherlands on July 27 at Sky Stadium and the Group A Playoff Winner on Aug. 1 back at Eden Park.
“Everything about this trip is a positive for our team ahead of the World Cup,” said Andonovski. “We will get some quality training time together and have two tough matches against a great opponent that is hosting the World Cup. We also get to experience the long travel and familiarize ourselves with the host cities, the stadiums, the training grounds and the culture, and hopefully we’ll play in front of some big crowds supporting the home team. It will be a great way to start the year.”
Eden Park, which seats almost 50,000 fans, is New Zealand’s National Stadium and has hosted many important sporting events in the country’s history. The original sports ground on the site opened 122 years ago in 1900. Eden Park will also host the opening game of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup as New Zealand takes on Norway on July 20.
This match against the USA at Eden Park will be the first-ever at the venue for the New Zealand Women’s National Team, which historically has had players spread around the world and has gotten to play intermittent home matches. The match at Sky Stadium, which will seat 34,500 fans for the World Cup when it will be known as Wellington Regional Stadium due to sponsorship regulations, will be the first for the Ferns at that venue since 2018. Tickets for both games will go on sale November 16.
New Zealand’s hosting of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will cap a remarkable and inspirational women’s sports trifecta over 17 months, as the country played host to the Women’s Cricket World Cup in the spring of 2022 and is currently hosting the Women’s Rugby World Cup. Both of those tournaments have featured matches at Eden Park.
- The USA has played New Zealand 19 times, but not once have the teams met in New Zealand. Thirteen of the games have been played in the USA, with one match each taking place in Chinese Taipei, Australia, China PR (during the 2008 Olympics), England (during the 2012 Olympics), Brazil (during the 2016 Olympics) and Japan (during the 2020 Olympics).
- The USA is 17-1-1 all-time vs. the Ferns, with the lone loss coming in the teams’ very first meeting back in 1987, a 1-0 NZL victory in Chinese Taipei. The draw was a 1-1 tie in Columbus, Ohio in 2013.
- The teams most recently met during the 2022 SheBelieves Cup, a 5-0 U.S. victory at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.
- Although it will be the height of summer when the USA visits New Zealand in January, the World Cup will be held in the winter in the southern hemisphere and matches could be played in chilly temperatures.
- New Zealand is coached by former U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team head coach Jitka Klimkova, who hails from the Czech Republic.
- New Zealand’s captain is Angel City FC defender Ali Riley, who is from Los Angeles and played college soccer at Stanford.
- The matches in New Zealand mean that the USWNT will have played two matches against both of the 2023 Women’s World Cup co-hosts in their home countries in the span of 13 months after having visited Australia in late November of 2021.