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USWNT prepare for life under head coach Emma Hayes

The USWNT players are preparing for a new challenge under Hayes.

(FILES) Chelsea's English manager Emma Hayes reacts during the English Women's League Cup final football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Selhurst Park in south London on March 5, 2023. Chelsea manager Emma Hayes has been appointed as the new head coach of the United States in a record deal that will make her the world's highest paid women's football coach, the United States Soccer Federation said on November 14, 2023. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

The US women’s national team have a new coach on the way. Emma Hayes, the team’s next head coach, has already come from England to meet with players and staff for a few days.

“I think it was super important for her to come in, and not just introduce herself and say ‘I’m leaving!’ but introduce herself and really say, ‘Look, I’m with you guys, obviously I have this obligation that I committed to,’” forward Lynn Williams said on Friday ahead of team training at DRV PNK Stadium.

“Obviously, we want her right now, but that’s actually really important to me to know that when she commits to something she is 100% all in.

“It’s going to be a challenge. I think that’s what this team needs, to be challenged in the right way.”

The US Soccer Federation appointed Hayes in November, as she became the 10th full-time head coach in US women’s national team history.

Hayes, 47, the long-time head coach of Chelsea, one of the most successful women’s teams in Europe, started her coaching career in the United States and more than two decades later will take the helm of the USWNT.  

Kilgore in charge for now

Interim head coach Twila Kilgore is currently in charge of running the day-to-day operations of the national side.

“Emma was one of the main reasons why I went to Chelsea, because of her and her coaching ability and making great players excellent,” Mia Fishel told reporters.

“I’m really excited for this team to be able to meet her, to get to know her. She’s an amazing person, amazing coach. She’s very funny. She’s cracking jokes in meetings at this camp, so it’s cool that she’s already getting comfortable with the team and showing a little bit about herself, but I mean, she’s also very serious. She has a good balance between being serious and being light-hearted.”

Emma Hayes aún no piensa en el USWNT
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New USWNT boss Emma Hayes.MATTHEW CHILDSAction Images via Reuters

A new beginning

“I do think it’s a new beginning,” Williams added. “This team has always pushed the bar on and off the field, and right now, it feels like a moment where we have two options. We either stay the same and continue to get the same results, or we challenge ourselves and push again.”

Rose Lavelle of the United States during USWNT training at DRV PNK Stadium on December 1, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
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Rose Lavelle of the United States during USWNT training at DRV PNK Stadium on December 1, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.MEGAN BRIGGSAFP

Lavelle on Hayes

“I know it’s the end of an era, but it feels like it’s the start of something new,” Rose Lavelle explained on Friday.

“She’s going to bring so much to us on the field, but also culture-wise and getting us all on the same page messaging-wise, what we want to do. Reinventing ourselves, having a new identity, and pushing beyond what I think we even thought was possible.”