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USWNT 'hopeful' Hayes will meet squad during December


The United States women's national team (USWNT) are "hopeful" Chelsea boss Emma Hayes will meet her new team during the December international break.

Emma Hayes © Other

The United States women's national team (USWNT) are "hopeful" Chelsea boss Emma Hayes will meet her new team during the December international break.

Hayes will become USWNT boss at the end of this season after her appointment was confirmed last week.

The move has raised questions over whether the 47-year-old will have a hands-on role with the US while managing Chelsea as they compete in four competitions, including the Women's Super League and the Champions League.

This weekend's WSL fixtures, which sees leaders Chelsea host Leicester on Sunday, are the final round before an international break with the US playing friendlies on December 2 and December 6.

Asked whether Hayes would be part of their upcoming camp, the technical director for the United States Soccer Federation, Matt Crocker said: "Yeah, we're very much hopeful.

"We're just again working some final details around her schedule, but being really respectful for Chelsea.

"It would be an ideal situation for her to come and meet the players and staff, and we're very hopeful that that can happen."

He added: "It's not ideal that Emma can't start with us straight away, but from my perspective, what was important is that we got the best candidate for the long term rather than the wrong candidate for the short term.

"This is the soonest that we can get Emma, being respectful to her the job that she has to do at Chelsea and the contract situation with Chelsea."

Questioned about whether any agreement has been reached with Chelsea over Hayes visiting America, Crocker responded: "It's ongoing right now.

"Obviously Emma has got a ridiculously busy schedule with the WSL, the Champions League and all the cup competitions that Chelsea are in.

"We also need to be respectful of Emma's family time. What we don't want is to bring our coach over in the summer and before we even know it they're on burnout, so we need to make sure that we respect and give us some time to regen when there is moments of opportunity.

"We've started to work with Emma whilst being really respectful to Chelsea in the period that they're in, about making sure that we can maximise a really detailed plan of change.

"Twila (Kilgore) is our [interim] head coach and will run the programme on a day-to-day basis, make decisions but she will stay in close contact with Emma and we'll work out as time goes by as and when Emma can be able to come over and come into camp."

Why was Hayes chosen as the new USWNT boss?

Hayes, who started her managerial career in the USA, will become the highest paid women's soccer coach in the world when she starts her new role.

She has won 13 major trophies since joining the WSL in 2012 and her trophy success was one of "five key areas" that helped persuade Crocker to appoint the Chelsea boss.

He said: "Throughout this [interview] process, Emma stood out in particular in five key areas. First of all, leadership - she has a tremendously strong personality. She's really charismatic. She's very emotionally intelligent in terms of her ability to, I would call it a high challenge, high support.

"So she's really honest and really deliberate with the way she communicates. But she's also really supportive of players and staff and the clarity of her communication skills was something that really stood out from a leadership perspective.

"She's got a wealth of of coaching experience both in the US, where she's coached for over 10 years and most recently has spent the last 12 years in the UK. I guess from this whole process what was really interesting is how well she currently knows the team and the wider roster in the US and has clearly kept a keen eye on player development in the States.

"In terms of coaching, she fits the playing style that we want this team to evolve and to become exciting, front footed, technically excellent, have the ability to adapt styles but also wants to become a really possession based team and that's Emma's teams and you'll see that in Chelsea in the way that they play and that's clearly down to her style and the great work she's done over many years there.

"The fourth thing is that Emma is a serial winner, so six WSL titles and five FA Cups. Emma's team are currently top of the WSL and are in the Champions League still. Clearly you can see Emma as a serial winning coach and that's what this programme needs for sure.

"And then finally, just to top it all off in terms of what I call a legacy coach.

"It's very rare to have a coach to spend such a sustained period of time at one club, so Emma spent over 12 years at Chelsea, not just developing the first-team space but the whole ecosystem in terms of the women's and girls' game at Chelsea. They've got an outstanding Academy and obviously Emma's been a huge part of that along the way."

Interim US boss: I can reach out to Hayes at any time

United States head coach Twila Kilgore stands on the sidelines before an international friendly soccer match against Colombia, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Image: United States women's team interim head coach Twila Kilgore

While Hayes continues her job at Chelsea, Twila Kilgore remains in interim charge and will then join Hayes' staff as an assistant coach.

Kilgore revealed she is in regular contact with Hayes and had an influence on picking their latest squad for the upcoming double-header against China.

Asked about her working relationship with Hayes, Kilgore replied: "Obviously I need to be conscious and aware that Emma is in a full-time job, that is very busy right now and it's one of the top club jobs in the world.

"I have the ability to reach out to her at any time. She'll make time for me at any point and vice versa. We are very collaborative. We're sharing information, knowledge sharing.

"In terms of the roster, there's a provisional roster that comes out first, which I prepared. I was able to share my ideas with Emma and she was able to share her ideas with me, and we picked this roster collaboratively and we will do so moving forward.

"I will have opportunities to go to London and spend time with Emma in person and hopefully vice versa. So things are off to a great start and we plan to do this together to the very best of our ability, knowing that I will handle the day-to-day, that Emma's time is very limited and that I need to tap into that when it's most appropriate and allow for her to focus on what she's doing and for me to focus on what I'm doing, and make sure that we're set for it all to come together in the end."

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