US Soccer finally figures out USWNT coaching job is biggest in the world, hires Emma Hayes

US Soccer finally figures out USWNT coaching job is biggest in the world, hires Emma Hayes

It is hard to not get a good chuckle out of the claims that US Soccer Sporting Director Matt Crocker would use a highly sophisticated and thorough process to find new coaches for both the Men’s and Women’s national teams, and for the former he landed on the guy who already had the job, and for the latter, he landed on the best coach in the best league in the world.

Just how complicated of a process can it be to end up with the dude already standing there and then the woman who is sporting multiple WSL winner’s medals around her neck?

While the jury is still out on what Berhalter v2.0 will be, US Soccer’s hiring of Emma Hayes for the USWNT is unequivocally a home run. US Soccer finally acted like the big bad on the block, which it always has been and will be for the foreseeable future, didn’t get too cute, and got one of the biggest names in the business to return the team to the luster it should always have.

Hayes has overseen the transformation of Chelsea to quite possibly the second-biggest club team in the world. And while Roman Abramovich’s millions helped to transform it, it wouldn’t get there without Hayes’s guidance. Chelsea have won the last four WSL titles and five of the last six, and played some of the best football around while doing it. They appeared in the 2021 Champions League final, and last year’s semifinal, losing to Barcelona – unquestionably the best team in the world that basically just won the World Cup, as well – on both occasions, losing last year’s semi only 2-1 on aggregate over two legs.

What will have USWNT fans’ eyes widening in excitement is that Hayes is more than accustomed to shaping some of the world’s best players into a team, and not simply letting them do whatever they want, which was part of Vlatko’s Andonovsky’s downfall. Last year’s Chelsea team featured Sam Kerr, Fran Kirby, Millie Bright, Guro Reiten, Lauren James, Eve Perisset and a few more international stars who all play big roles for their countries. Hayes will have no problem dealing with some egos or those who have been treated differently under different managers and come with some expectations.

She also is not unfamiliar with the American game, having coached in the NCAA with Iona and worked with Chicago, New York and Washington in the NWSL’s predecessor, the WPS. She has coached some of the USWNT stars already, such as Crystal Dunn in the past or Catarina Macario and Mia Fishel now.

Perhaps best of all, Hayes won’t bring a garbage system with her like Andonovsky before her, which just involved jamming the ball up the wings in the hopes that Sophia Smith could beat someone with speed. Hayes’s Chelsea teams have seamlessly bounced between a 3-4-3 or 4-2-3-1 system in the past few years, and the USWNT shouldn’t have any problems doing that either. Though for an international side, it’s more likely that Hayes will pick one system and drill that down.

Hayes will also get something of a clean slate with the roster. The old guard has officially moved out, mostly through retirement (and Alex Morgan through her World Cup performance). Other than Lindsey Horan and Dunn, the rest of the lineup for Hayes could, and probably should, be under 25 (and for the love of God, give Sam Coffey a run!). There shouldn’t be a lot entrenched lineup choices here, for however Hayes wants to deploy the wealth of talent on offer.

What Hayes can’t do is reshape how women’s players are developed before they get to the national team, at least not on Day 1. But she’s hardly a shrinking violet, afraid to voice her opinion on such subjects. And seeing as how the USWNT is more than three years from the next World Cup – the only tournament that really matters to them – there’s plenty of time for her to survey the scene and get the US back to the level where Spain or England are now.

The USWNT manager’s job should still be the biggest in the sport. Yes, the expectations are atmospheric, but that’s what makes it the biggest job in the sport. The team either wins the World Cup or it fails. It’s only cut out for a few people. US Soccer went out and got one of the few who are completely qualified for the seat. It acted like the wolf roaming the countryside that it is. About time.

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Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.