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Emma Hayes Takes USWNT Challenge After Assuming Duties

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 23: (EDITOR'S NOTE: This image has been digitally altered.) United States Women's National Team head coach Emma Hayes poses for a portrait on May 23, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji

Former Chelsea FC coach, Emma Hayes has taken charge of the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) job and spoke with media ahead of friendly games leading to the 2024 Paris 2024 Olympics. She spoke with the media on Thursday.

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On Thursday, Hayes made the rounds, appearing on the Today Show and speaking with select media about her goals and underlying principles with the team. It’s a quick turnaround for the decorated coach, who just won the English Women’s Super League (WSL) last weekend.

One thing that she won’t do, however, is shy away from the high expectations that come with managing the United States (US). The squad is looking to reinstate its winning reputation at the Paris Olympics this summer following a disappointing World Cup in 2023.

“I know the challenge ahead of me. There is no denying there is a gap between the US and the rest of the world,” she told ESPN.

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"We have to acknowledge that winning at the highest level isn't what it was 10 years ago. It's a completely different landscape. And my focus is going to be on getting the performances required to play at a high level against the very best nations in the world."

While Hayes was formally unveiled six months ago to lead the USWNT, her deal stipulated that she remain with Chelsea through the conclusion of their season. In her stead, Twila Kilgore has led the team, with the coach "drip-feeding subliminal messages" to the roster on Hayes’s behalf.

"It's a bit ass-upwards," Hayes joked to reporters. "I know about the staff, and the team, and the structure behind it. We got all of that. Now it's time, I need to be with the team."

Meanwhile...

With the Olympics now just two months away, Hayes dropped hints this week regarding her thought process behind building the roster, saying there’s still time for players to make their case.

"You can't go to an Olympics with a completely inexperienced squad. We need our experienced players, but getting that composition right, that's my job between now and June 16th," she said on the Today Show.

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"What I can say from my time [in the US] is, I've always loved the attitude towards performance and the expectation to give everything you've got," she later affirmed to reporters.

And as for winning gold?

"I'm never gonna tell anyone to not dream about winning," she added. "But… we have to go step by step and focus on all the little processes that need to happen so we can perform at our best level.

"I will give it absolutely everything I've got to make sure I uphold the traditions of this team."

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