US women to hold camp, play two matches in New Zealand

Reigning Women's World Cup champions, the United States, will conduct a January training camp in New Zealand and play two matches against the 2023 tournament co-hosts, U.S. Soccer announced Wednesday.

The Americans will play matches against the 'Football Ferns' at both of the stadiums where they are scheduled to play in July and August in group stage matches at the 2023 Women' World Cup, which New Zealand co-hosts with Australia.

New Zealand will entertain the US women on January 18 at Sky Stadium in Wellington and face them again on January 21 at Eden Park in Auckland.

Before their first-ever matches in New Zealand, the US women will train there for six days.

Last month, the Americans were drawn into Group E for next year's Women's World Cup, which meant they will play Vietnam on July 22 at Eden Park, the Netherlands on July 27 at Sky Stadium and the Group A playoff Winner on August 1 at Eden Park.

"Everything about this trip is a positive for our team ahead of the World Cup," US women's national team coach Vlatko Andonovski said.

"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."

The US match will be the first at Eden Park for the New Zealand national team. The venue also will host the 2023 Women's World Cup opener between Norway and New Zealand on July 20.

The US women own a 17-1-1 edge on New Zealand in their all-time record but these will be the first matches they have played in New Zealand. The Ferns lone victory came in their first meeting by 1-0 in 1987 in Taiwan.