A pair of Nebraska soccer players recently competed with their respective national teams, as senior defender Ari Romero played in the Algarve Cup with the Mexican National team in Portugal and sophomore forward Katie Kraeutner trained with Team Canada’s U20 National team in Portland, Ore.
An invitation-only tournament hosted by the Portuguese Football Federation, the Algarve Cup started in 1994 and is one of the most prestigious women's soccer events, alongside the World Cup and the Olympics. Mexico was one of 12 countries invited to the tournament and started in group play with Hungary, Wales and Portugal.
Romero played in three of Mexico’s four games, including a start against Wales during group play.
Mexico won their group with a pair of wins over Hungary (1-0) and Portugal (3-0), which placed them in the seventh-place game at the tournament. Denmark took the seventh-place game, 3-0, at Municipal Stadium in Lagos, Portugal.
Mexico played in the tournament for just the third time in tournament history and the first time since 2006.
Following a stellar freshman season at Nebraska in 2012, Kraeutner recently returned from the Team Canada U20 National Excel camp, where she trained from March 16-25 with 22 other players.
“Taking part in a training camp like that is something I’ve been dreaming about since I was little,” Kraeutner said. “It was unreal for me to take part in that. It was a great experience, so much fun and great environment.”
The team started training for the U20 World Cup in 2014, which Canada will host, along with the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015.
Kraeutner credits a lot of her progress as a soccer player to Nebraska Head Coach John Walker, who has coached in the Canadian National team program.
“It’s awesome to have Coach Walker here at Nebraska,” Kraeutner said. “He helped me so much during my first season at Nebraska and without him I don’t think I’d be were I’m right now. I love playing for Coach Walker.”