Albrecht's Red, White and Blue Dream
Feb. 14, 2018

Black History Month: Rashida Beal // Gophers Hand Out Awards at Banquet // Overseas Blog

With the world’s eyes on the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, Nikki Albrecht has been chasing her own Team USA dream playing with both the U20 and U19 National Soccer teams over the past few months.

Down in Sunrise, Fla., back in November, Albrecht was one of eight defenders that took part in the U20 camp and now this week she is in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. to take part in camps with the U19 national team.

“The first camp, I was obviously very ecstatic,” Albrecht said. “It was almost a relief for me because I felt like my season, wasn’t my best season. So, when I was asked to come to my first camp, it validated that I was still doing well within my sport and within my position.”

Albrecht took part in the weeklong camp working on her game and was eventually called back for the USA U20 Nike Friendlies in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. Albrecht said that the second call-up was arguably bigger for her than the first.

“I felt really honored, being able to get called back,” said Albrecht. “It was something where, the hard work paid off and people at this level don’t care where you come from, they just care how good you are,” Albrecht said. “I thought that really spoke volume, so I was really excited. I was a lot less nervous going into that second one. It was nice because I felt free; I was able to play free.”


Hailing from Cedarburg, Wis., Albrecht said she has had a dream since she was young to not only play with the U20 and U19 teams, but at the highest level.

“My ultimate dream is to say that I have played and for the US women’s national team, the full team. My freshman and sophomore year of college, I was starting to get concerned that I wouldn’t be able to fulfill that dream because I wasn’t getting recognition nationally and my name wasn’t really out there. That’s why I think in the first camp, I was really relieved because I was doing something right, something good in my position. I looked at it as the beginning, as an opportunity for my dream to come true. I just really want to continue on an upward trend in these camps because, if I keep getting called back, I really want to put myself in a position to be able to play, in games, on teams, national teams.”

During the Nike Friendlies, Albrecht was unable to get on the field in the red, white and blue, but the 2018 junior says that will help her appreciate everyone on the roster as she returns to the Gophers next season.

“It was totally different. I don’t think I truly appreciated those people on our team until I was in that position,” Albrecht explained. “The margin of talent of people at that level are slim to none, but when you’re on the bench, you still feel like you have to have that role and you have to have that presence. I think going from playing every single minute, to not at all, it was extremely humbling.”

In 2017, Albrecht scored one goal and added two assists from the Gophers stacked back line, and Albrecht will return to the Maroon and Gold bringing in 42 straight starts, and thinks that her time with the U19 and U20 teams will really have an impact on not only h

“From a leadership perspective, I think it’s just going to help me share the knowledge that I have of the game. More tactical things than anything else, not that I’m not a motivating person but, I think it’ll help me teach more technical and tactical things.”

Albrecht will be eligible for the 2018 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, should they earn themselves a future call-up to Jitka Klimkova’s U20 side as it prepares for the World Cup in France this August.

“It’s just going to be hard work, I just have to put my head down, and do the best I can do,” Albrecht said. “It would be a dream to say that I went back to U20 team and participated in a World Cup.”

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