Korbin Albert is constantly looking to grow

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
The 20-year-old midfielder has impressed in her first few USWNT appearances. Much of the success comes from her constant desire to improve.

CARSON, Calif. — When Korbin Albert was called up to her first United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) camp, interim head coach Twila Kilgore asked her to play multiple positions. The assignment would be challenging for most players, let alone a 20-year-old stepping into a new environment with some of the world’s most talented women’s soccer players. However, it was easy for Albert. 

It was a simple task because she was used to it. Albert has regularly featured in multiple midfield roles at the club level, showcasing her versatility.

“I don’t think it was that difficult,” Albert told reporters. “I’m used to playing multiple positions, and I think that’s the world of soccer. It’s so many things are going on, and you get used to it after a while, and she [Kilgore] told me I could be playing multiple positions, and I made sure I was in the headspace to do that.”

Albert plays in France for Division 1 Féminine club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). Her role has increased since joining them in 2022, becoming a regular starter and appearing in all six of their UEFA Women’s Champions League matches in 2023-24. 

Before turning professional, Albert played for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. She scored a hat trick of spectacular long-distance goals in the 2022 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Tournament Semi-Final against the Florida State Seminoles.

However, Albert has proved more useful for simple plays that hold a wealth of value instead of goal-scoring at the professional level. Often playing as a No. 6 or No. 8, she is readily available for her teammates and plays quickly with the ball. 

Albert developed such talent through her desire to work. She describes herself as a perfectionist and constantly works to further her game. That hunger for development helped her find a place on the USWNT, and her teammates noticed it.

“She’s such a hard worker, and I’m such a sucker for a hard worker,” said USWNT midfielder Rose Lavelle. “She’s going to run all over the place, but then at the same time is so good on the ball and setting the tempo.”

Albert made her most notable impact in her third USWNT appearance during a CONCACAF W Gold Cup match against Argentina. The USWNT started quickly, with forward Jaedyn Shaw scoring two goals in 17 minutes en route to a 4-0 win. But Albert was a driving force for their offense. She was constantly available for her teammates, looking to play into the pocket while on the ball.

“We’ve talked a lot about how there might be an experience gap, but there’s not a talent gap,” Kilgore said. “We spoke prior to the [Argentina] game about one of the ways to capitalize on these experiences, which is to try everything and get the most that you possibly can out of the minutes you are getting.”

Despite a solid performance, Albert was already pitching ideas for where she could improve. Kilgore and her discussed minor aspects throughout the game, but her primary area of focus is staying calm and visualizing her movements.

“We just talked about little things like what I could be doing better, what I thought I could be doing better on the field based on what I saw,” Albert said. “I go into each game, making sure I’m breathing and just focusing on each step, and that’s what makes it important. Visualizing what I’m doing on the field beforehand, or even on the field before I make a play, visualizing what kind of turn and what kind of steps I’m taking, so I can play an accurate ball.”

“I’m a perfectionist, so I think there are things to improve on, and I don’t think I’m still at my best,” Albert said. But I’m very pleased that I didn’t play too stressed [against Argentina].”

Albert’s hunger to learn has helped her mark her mark on the USWNT, earning consecutive starts in the Gold Cup. She has developed her chemistry with her teammates, such as fellow midfielder Lindsey Horan. 

“The more we play together, it’s going to be better and better,” Albert said. “I haven’t played with her that much, but I’m excited because I want to do everything I can to support her, find the ball, and just play a little tiki-taka.” 

As Albert grows her role, she sets her sights on a Paris 2024 Olympics roster spot. The 18-player team is smaller than most tournaments, so it is difficult to make. But Albert is making her case with impressive performances. 

“It means everything to me,” Albert said. “I grew up watching the Olympics and watching everyone play there. I’m only going to be there if they need me. And if I’m not needed, I will support wherever I’m at.”