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‘A breath of recent air’: Can trailblazer Emma Hayes revitalise the USWNT? | Soccer Information

After their early exit on the 2023 Girls’s World Cup, america nationwide staff is in dire want of renewal and Chelsea coach Emma Hayes has been tasked with the job.

The 47-year-old has been a trailblazer in England and observers say the “outsider” might be the breath of recent air that the US girls’s recreation wants.

For many years, the US staff has been a pacesetter in girls’s soccer, having gained the World Cup 4 occasions.

After successive triumphs in 2015 and 2019, there had been excessive hopes from them to finish a “three-peat” of titles at this 12 months’s World Cup, however the People had been knocked out within the final 16, shedding to Sweden on penalties.

The shock exit raised questions over the efficiency of coach Vlatko Andonovski, who later resigned, with Twila Kilgore taking up as interim coach.

Earlier this month the US Soccer Federation introduced that Hayes will take cost of the US staff two months earlier than the 2024 Paris Olympics after she leaves Chelsea on the finish of this season.

The US job would be the first time Hayes has taken cost of a nationwide staff. However as some of the influential coaches within the girls’s recreation, she boasts a extremely spectacular CV.

Hayes has helped flip Chelsea into the dominant power in English girls’s soccer, guiding them to 6 Girls’s Tremendous League titles – together with the final 4 in a row – 5 Girls’s FA Cups and two Girls’s League Cups since she took cost in 2012.

She additionally led them to the Girls’s Champions League remaining in 2021, the identical 12 months she was named FIFA Girls’s Coach of the 12 months.

Earlier than Chelsea, Hayes labored in US soccer with Lengthy Island Woman Riders, Iona Gaels and the Chicago Purple Stars.

Brandi Chastain, a two-time world champion with the US, mentioned it’s an “intriguing” appointment that can problem the USWNT, who’ve slipped from first to 3rd within the FIFA world rankings for the reason that World Cup.

“I’ve heard she’s a stickler for the main points in regards to the progress and growth of the gamers, and a sure model of play,” she mentioned.

“I believe it will likely be an ideal problem for the gamers. I don’t know in the event that they’ve been challenged exterior of their consolation zones in a very long time.”

Hayes is understood for her direct and attacking strategy however adapts ways and formations to the gamers at her disposal, and observers say she boasts wonderful folks administration expertise.

“Hayes’s model of soccer could be very very like her, direct,” Canadian sports activities journalist Mariam Kourabi mentioned. “There’s a heavy emphasis on fast motion of the ball, making probably the most out of possession and being scientific in every single place.

“Quick and efficient soccer is what made the USWNT terrifying for a few years, which is strictly what they’ve misplaced, however is what Hayes enforces.”

Kourabi, additionally the founding father of the SHE scores bangers podcast, praised Hayes’s willingness to make daring selections – one thing she mentioned ex-USWNT coach Andonovski didn’t do, significantly with substitutions.

“Hayes is especially recognized to show issues round when trailing behind, even when it means taking a participant off solely half-hour in.”

American sportswriter Jeff Kassouf mentioned that Hayes is uniquely positioned as somebody accustomed to the US setup and participant pool however one thing of an “outsider” at a time when the staff wants new concepts.

“Hayes has confirmed herself to be among the finest managers on this planet. She is unafraid of failure within the quick time period if it means discovering the correct long-term solutions, as she has proven along with her tactical flexibility at Chelsea,” Kassouf mentioned.

“The USWNT wants that greater than ever. The People have not too long ago regarded inflexible and nearly afraid of improvisation, which is required in huge video games.”

Group in transition

The US staff is at present in a transitional part after veteran gamers Megan Rapinoe, Julie Ertz and Ali Krieger introduced their retirements. The People boast a wealth of younger expertise in Sophia Smith, Trinity Rodman and others, however they’re but to succeed in their peak.

The onus now lies on Hayes to make sure the US can carry out on the Paris Olympics, held in July and August subsequent 12 months.

“Hayes has developed loads of children into stars below her steering equivalent to Niamh Charles, Ji So-yun, Hannah Blundell and Lauren James now,” Kourabi mentioned.

“She has additionally performed an enormous function in unleashing potential from already established gamers like Sam Kerr, Guro Reiten and Magdelena Eriksson.

“She is among the most versed in teaching each the rookies and the veterans, which is strictly what the present USWNT in transition wants.”

Whereas ex-USWNT participant Chastain believes that Hayes will convey “a breath of recent air” to the staff, she mentioned that the English coach may even face an enormous problem in implementing her strategies in simply two months earlier than the Olympics.

“If the communication beginning now in the direction of that date is open, it’s clear, it helps the gamers who’re both on the roster proper now, or she believes must be on the roster, then they will get an thought of what she desires all of the positions to appear to be,” Chastain mentioned.

Kassouf, founding father of The Equalizer, a web site on girls’s soccer in North America, mentioned Hayes won’t have sufficient time to organize the staff for the Video games, however an Olympic medal shouldn’t be dominated out.

“The coach and participant expertise is there. Crazier issues have occurred,” Kassouf mentioned. “[But] this rent is clearly about successful the 2027 World Cup, and that’s a high quality concession to make.”


Whereas Hayes’ appointment will change issues for the US staff, it’s also a landmark second for the ladies’s recreation.

US Soccer has introduced Hayes will develop into the highest-paid girls’s soccer coach on this planet, although the governing physique didn’t reveal particulars about her wage.

The Athletic reported final week that Hayes might be paid 1.6 million kilos ($2m) – the identical because the US males’s nationwide staff coach Gregg Berhalter.

The transfer could be a significant victory in a protracted battle in the direction of pay parity for girls in soccer.

In February 2022, the US nationwide girls’s staff gained a $24m payout and a pledge from US Soccer to equalise pay for the lads’s and girls’s nationwide groups in all competitions, in a landmark settlement that ended a six-year authorized battle over equal pay.

Chastain mentioned the transfer to make sure pay parity for female and male coaches was “a very long time coming”.

“There have been obstacles earlier … however now, we don’t need to justify it to anybody {that a} girl must be paid for equal work to her counterpart.”

Kourabi mentioned Hayes has lengthy been a trailblazer in elevating the requirements in girls’s soccer by advocating for elevated prize cash for competitions, pushing for video games in huge stadiums for bigger crowds, and breaking switch data with signings equivalent to Pernille More durable and Lauren James at Chelsea.

“The US Soccer Federation was the primary, after many fights, to strike equal pay, fairness, and elevated pay for his or her worldwide groups. That is two torchbearers coming collectively,” she added.

Whereas the US is on the forefront of pay parity for coaches, different higher-ranked groups have a protracted solution to go.

The German girls’s coach reportedly makes 300,000 kilos ($377,000) yearly, whereas the lads’s coach is paid 5.6 million kilos ($7m). England’s girls’s head coach is paid 400,000 kilos ($503,000), whereas the lads’s coach earns 5 million kilos ($6.3m).

Chastain mentioned US Soccer’s transfer to pay Hayes the identical as her male counterpart will push different federations to do the identical.

“I do consider that each nation or governing physique must take be aware and sit up and say, ‘Okay, this issues. We are able to’t fake like girls’s soccer isn’t viable, isn’t vital, or doesn’t meet the usual of our males’s facet.’”



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