What should be on new USWNT coach Emma Hayes' to-do list?

1 week ago 15
  • Joseph Lowery

Nov 20, 2023, 10:17 AM ET

Emma Hayes knows much astir shot than you. There's nary shame successful it -- she knows mode much astir shot than me, too. She's been coaching 1 of the champion women's teams successful the satellite for much than a decade. She's won trophies -- six English league titles among the batch. She's coached connected aggregate continents. She's been a workplace expert for ESPN, and she's besides written astir the athletics arsenic a columnist for The Telegraph.

Now, that past spot makes maine adjacent much grateful that U.S. Soccer made Hayes its apical choice to regenerate Vlatko Andonovski arsenic the caller manager of the U.S. women's nationalist team. At slightest Hayes isn't coming for my occupation conscionable yet.

So yes, Hayes knows a batch astir soccer. But she doesn't yet cognize however this modulation from coaching Chelsea to coaching the U.S. connected the planetary signifier volition go.

The logistics of Hayes shifting from Chelsea to the USWNT are complicated. She's going to decorativeness Chelsea's play successful England earlier taking implicit afloat clip with the United States aboriginal adjacent summer. That in-between play isn't perfect for the U.S but it does contiguous Hayes with clip to benignant done her archetypal steps successful a caller role.

What should she prioritize connected her USWNT to-do list? Using Hayes' ain inheritance and immoderate of Andonovski's missteps arsenic a guide, let's instrumentality a look.

- Stream connected ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, much (U.S.)

1. Fully scout the subordinate pool

Getting highly acquainted with each of your caller players is simply a no-brainer commencement constituent for immoderate caller manager taking implicit a caller team. After all, players thrust success, and coaches power that occurrence by placing their players successful the champion imaginable situations.

For Hayes, digging into the subordinate excavation is adjacent much firmly fixed astatine the apical of her priorities list. Why? Well, due to the fact that she tin work-from-home her mode done this one. It's 2023, folks, and shot coaches tin pat into the benefits of moving from location conscionable similar galore of the remainder of us. Hayes volition inactive beryllium crossed the Atlantic successful London for astir of the adjacent fewer months, but she'll person entree to tools similar Wyscout and plentifulness of different movie and information to get up to velocity connected her players' tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses.

She already knows a fewer of the United States' players from coaching them with Chelsea -- deliberation Crystal Dunn, Mia Fishel, and Catarina Macario. She's intelligibly observed the squad from afar during large tournaments, too, and I'd beryllium shocked if she didn't travel into her interrogation process with U.S. Soccer with a precocious level of cognition astir the American subordinate pool. Those things springiness Hayes a caput start.

But present is the clip to larn everything determination is to larn astir Sophia Smith's off-ball movement. And Naomi Girma's distribution. And Katie Lund's shot-stopping successful the NWSL. And ... well, you get the idea.

2. Start phasing retired immoderate of the 2023 World Cup squad

Andonovski had it bully aft the World Cup. Sure, helium resigned aft what ended up being a large failure successful Australia and New Zealand. But successful doing so, helium escaped what mightiness beryllium the worst portion of being a coach: having to determination on.

Calling players to archer them that they're not successful your plans oregon that they're not successful the squad for the adjacent campy is an awkward process.

Whether it's Hayes making decisions done Kilgore for the adjacent fewer planetary windows (I told you the logistics were complicated!) oregon Hayes picking up the telephone herself, present is the clip to commencement phasing retired a fistful of U.S. players.

Alyssa Naeher, who started for the USWNT astatine the World Cup and has continued to get call-ups and starts since that tournament, is simply a premier example. Now 35, Naeher allowed much goals than expected than immoderate different goalkeeper successful the NWSL past season. According to American Soccer Analysis, she conceded 7.49 much goals than expected, portion Lund saved 5.39 much than expected.

Alex Morgan, different World Cup starter, is present acold from being the U.S.'s champion enactment up front. Comparing Morgan to Smith based connected this astir caller NWSL play wherever they some played arsenic lone strikers, Smith:

  • More than doubled Morgan's scoring complaint per 90 minutes (0.85 goals vs. 0.41 goals, per FBref)

  • Recorded much non-penalty expected goals per 90 minutes (0.55 for Smith, 0.39 for Morgan, per FBref)

Roster spots and minutes that person antecedently gone to antiaircraft midfielder Andi Sullivan (27), midfielder/defender Emily Sonnett (29), and No. 8 Kristie Mewis (32) mightiness beryllium amended spent elsewhere, too.

Coming successful fresh, Hayes shouldn't person the aforesaid attachment to these players that Andonovski did. That should assistance spur alteration contempt Hayes being an water away.

3. Start integrating the youth

There's ever a temptation to gravitate toward the new, shiny, amusive thing, adjacent if it's not the champion happening astatine immoderate fixed moment. For Hayes, though, moving toward the United States' adjacent procreation is some the amusive happening to bash and the champion happening to do. Some of the USWNT's apical originative players besides hap to beryllium immoderate of their youngest players.

As Hayes noted during the World Cup, the U.S. needs playmakers.

"I deliberation America are massively abbreviated of originative talent," she wrote for The Telegraph. "When you're playing against much well-organised teams, better-coached teams, you person to interruption them down, and that breaking teams down is simply a operation of strategy, tactics and personnel, and I don't spot that they've got the unit to bash that."



Purce: Hayes knows precisely what she needs to bash with the USWNT

Midge Purce speaks astir Emma Hayes' assignment arsenic caput manager of the USWNT.

A fewer months aft the World Cup and a mates of 1000 minutes into the nonrecreational careers for a brace of young stars, Hayes has a accidental to code her ain observation.

Teenage San Diego Wave attacker Jaedyn Shaw completed astir doubly arsenic galore done balls arsenic immoderate different subordinate successful the NWSL successful 2023 (20, Savannah McCaskill finished 2nd with 11). At 18, Shaw tin spot passes that fewer different players successful the satellite can. The Portland Thorns' Olivia Moultrie, besides 18, finished successful the 99th percentile for expected assisted goals among NWSL midfielders successful 2023, per FBref. Both players person been successful camps with the U.S. since the World Cup, but neither has played a large role.

Hayes volition marque her beingness overmuch easier by uncovering opportunities for Shaw and Moultrie.

4. Prepare the USWNT's tactical approach

If you've spent a infinitesimal oregon 2 speechmaking astir Hayes' tactical attack with Chelsea, you already cognize that she's a chameleon. Based connected unit and the opponent, Hayes has historically been consenting to set her team's signifier and attacking crippled plan. As an example, Chelsea averaged 59.3% possession successful the WSL past year. Across 8 full Champions League games against Barcelona, PSG, Lyon, and Real Madrid, Chelsea averaged conscionable 46.6% possession.

With the USWNT, Hayes volition person much clip to hole circumstantial approaches for circumstantial opponents than she does with Chelsea -- she tin convey the comparatively airy planetary calendar for that. Extra clip to program is bully quality for the portion of Hayes' psyche that exhibits her eccentric tactical tendencies. It's atrocious news, however, for her applicable side. Instead of moving connected strategical twists with her players connected the grooming crushed astir each day, Hayes volition person lone a fewer days present and determination with the squad extracurricular of large tournaments.

Hayes tin inactive alteration her team's crippled program successful a caller environment, but doing truthful volition necessitate a small creativity. She'll person to pass the astir important accusation to her players successful a smaller magnitude of clip than she's utilized to, which is simply a modulation that Andonovski seemed to conflict with arsenic helium moved from nine to country. Building strategical pillars for the United States based connected the kinds of teams that the U.S. look would beryllium a measurement successful the close direction.

There are 4 main types of teams that the USWNT comes across:

1. Bad teams (think Vietnam astatine the World Cup)
2. Good teams that don't similar the shot (think Sweden)
3. Good teams that bash similar the shot (think Spain)
4. Good teams that are determination successful the mediate (think England)

If Hayes tin make default approaches for erstwhile the U.S. clashes with teams successful each of those buckets and pass them clearly, players volition person a beardown tactical instauration coming into each camp.

5. Spend other clip successful the last third

One of the banes of the USWNT's beingness for years has been playing against teams that acceptable up with a debased block. To beryllium fair, that's not unsocial to the United States: breaking down a debased artifact is the hardest happening to bash successful shot due to the fact that abstraction is astatine a premium with a big of defenders backmost protecting the goal.

But nether Andonovski, the United States really struggled against debased blocks. They lacked divers ideas and execution successful bid to make chances against acceptable defenses. Hayes seemed to heap the lion's stock of the blasted for that contented connected the U.S.'s deficiency of originative players during the World Cup, but she took attraction to see successful 1 of her columns that "breaking teams down is simply a operation of strategy, tactics and personnel." There's an undeniable strategical constituent to breaking down a debased block, 1 that Hayes indispensable instrumentality attraction to make and bid into her players -- astatine slightest much than Andonovski.

The U.S. defaulted to sluggish possession and crosses from wide areas successful that past tourney cycle. At the 2023 World Cup, the U.S. crossed the shot connected implicit 6% of their passes, per FBref. That was much than immoderate different squad astatine the tournament, portion lone 1 different squad passed the 5% people (France). The U.S. scored conscionable 1 extremity extracurricular of its opener against Vietnam earlier losing successful the circular of 16. The World Cup is simply a tiny sample, but akin issues popped up astatine the Tokyo Olympics and successful virtually each U.S. crippled betwixt the 2 competitions.

So, there's tactical enactment to beryllium done for the U.S. successful the last 3rd to debar basal mistakes similar mediocre spacing and dilatory shot question that person plagued the Americans successful the past. Hayes isn't apt to reinvent the instrumentality successful the last third, particularly since her Chelsea squad doesn't usage galore elaborate patterns against debased blocks. But adding much clarity and a small much assortment volition spell a agelong mode for the United States.