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How Emma Hayes’ USWNT criticism helped her win the job

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(Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Emma Hayes has not been shy about the issues that the U.S. women’s national team currently has.

During the World Cup, Hayes called out those issues in an opinion piece for The Telegraph. Among the issues she highlighted is the development system, which she says has left the team “massively short of creative talent.”

And it was in fact those criticisms that helped her get the job, with conversations about the team’s development system coming up “regularly” during the interview process. According to U.S. Soccer sporting director Matt Crocker, she’ll also be involved directly with the U.S. development system.

“It’s difficult not to talk about the U.S. senior national team without talking about the pathway,” Crocker said Monday. “And her understanding of that clearly is pretty outstanding, and she’s got you know, some strong views about the complexities and some possible solutions of how we move forward.”

He also called it “silly” to not involve her in the process of improving the development system.

“One of her biggest skills is not just being a serial winner, but actually caring about the whole legacy and a whole ecosystem,” he continued. “So to have the ability to tap into that is going to be key.”

Even still, Hayes’ job will be to focus on developing the players she has on her team – not just those for the future.

“What we also have to remember is her job is going to be to develop and evolve this team into being serial winners,” Crocker said. “We’re going to need to manage that time but you know, we’re definitely going to be listening to her views and she’s going to be a key player in not just the senior space, but also the whole of the ecosystem.”

As for how it’ll go until Hayes joins the team following her stint with Chelsea coming to an end, Crocker says that both Hayes and interim head coach Twila Kilgore have been in contact with one another. And both are aligned on how they want the team to move forward creatively.

Hayes, Crocker says, not only has the ability to coach quality players, but develop them as well.

“The conversations that they’ve had already there’s a huge amount of alignment,” he said. “I think everybody’s focused. … I think with good coaching, with the right tactics to evolve this team in particular with an in possession style, and also making sure that the players that come in feel like they’ve got the freedom to to create and be themselves is going to be critically important. And both Emma and Twila have got that in coaching as well as all our technical team.

“And like I mentioned, we want the team to be bold and brave going forward and dynamic. But we also want to become a very possession based team. And we feel like as if this team can evolve into that with the skills of both.”