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Friday, April 12, 2024
The Observer

Albert announces she'll forgo eligibility ahead of European move

Saturday afternoon Notre Dame women’s soccer star Korbin Albert announced via Instagram that she would be forgoing her remaining collegiate eligibility to play professionally.

Though her destination is not yet official, reports have indicated she’ll be signing with PSG. CBS’s Sandra Herrera mentioned the news as a possibility earlier in the week. Local outlet Le Parisien also picked up the news a day later.

Such a declaration marks historic news for the Irish women’s soccer program. Notre Dame has never had a player forgo eligibility to leave for a club the stature of PSG. In fact, only one women’s soccer player at any program has forgone eligibility to play for a Champions League-level club in recent memory. That was Stanford and Lyon’s Catarina Macario in 2019. Macario is widely regarded as one of the best college soccer players ever. It is big news for the Irish and their future recruiting that Albert has now joined that exclusive list.

Albert over the last year established herself as arguably the best midfielder in college soccer. Capable of producing as both a finisher and a creator, Albert notched 16 goals and five assists. Both marked team-highs for Notre Dame. Playing as an attacking midfielder, Albert represented the heart of Notre Dame’s 3-5-2 formation. She often started attacks out of thin air with her pinpoint passes and penchant for long-range attempts on goal.

The Irish enjoyed a resurgent 2022 campaign, reaching the ACC semi-finals and the national elite eight. Albert played a crucial role in their efforts. In several of Notre Dame’s games against elite opposition, it was the sophomore midfielder who nearly single-handedly powered the team to victory. 

The most notable such game came against Florida State in the ACC semi-final in Cary, North Carolina. On two different occasions, the Irish fell behind against a Seminole side that would go on to win the conference crown. Both times it was Albert who brought Notre Dame back to level terms with long-shot efforts. Albert went on to give the Irish a brief lead with a third shot from distance. A late Florida State equalizer brought the game to overtime, and Notre Dame lost an ill-fated penalty kick shootout. 

Albert’s brilliance also shined in a key clash against Duke. The Blue Devils went on to finish No. 6 in national rankings. The sophomore was the only Irish player to find the back of the net against the Blue Devils, converting both a penalty and a vicious curled strike in a 2-2 draw.

If the current buzz is true, Albert will be joining a PSG squad in the thick of a title race. The Parisians sit second in the table in France’s DI Arkema behind Olympique Lyonnais. They’re just a single point behind current leaders Lyon, with nine matches to play in the season.