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Lindsey Horan: USWNT needs ‘better coaches’ and ‘better youth development’

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(Brad Smith/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

Lindsey Horan wants to see better coaches and better youth development for the U.S. women’s national team.

A four-episode Netflix docuseries released Tuesday, titled “Under Pressure,” chronicles the USWNT’s journey at the 2023 World Cup, which ended in disappointment.

In the fourth episode, co-captain Horan offered up some criticism after the team’s exit in the Round of 16, which was its earliest ever at a World Cup. Horan, who plays for French club Olympique Lyonnais, attributes the disappointing result in part to the rest of the world catching up – and in part to the evolving style of play.

“The international game, it’s such a nice style of football,” Horan said. “You’re playing these little tiny passes here and there. They’re so confident on the ball. They’re so technical. We need to progress in this possession style of play. We need better coaches. We need better youth development. We need more investment there.”

Some of the issues with the USWNT also can be traced back to former head coach Vlatko Andonovski, who resigned following the World Cup.

“I don’t think we were set up well to go on and have the success to win it,” Lynn Williams said in the series. “When you only win three out of the ten games, there’s no way you’re gonna have that coach carry on. … When we’re held to this standard, the coaching staff also has to be.”

Alex Morgan, Horan’s co-captain, noted that both she and Horan had “really honest” conversations with Andonovski. But she also knows that not every player felt as comfortable or could be as vulnerable with their coach.

And Horan also acknowledged that some of the responsibility for the team’s failure fell on the players.

“Obviously Vlatko gives us the game plan every single game, but we’re the players on the field,” she said.

New head coach Emma Hayes has brought some life back to the squad, with players excited about the new direction. Interim head coach Twila Kilgore will lead the team until Hayes joins in May following the conclusion of Chelsea’s season. But the Paris Olympics start in July, leading some to question whether or not the team can succeed in the short term. And for some, succeeding in the short term is imperative.

“How we silence the critics going forward now, in this moment,” former USWNT forward Tobin Heath said near the end of the series, “is we go to an Olympics, and we win an Olympics.”