Emma Hayes has officially begun her tenure as USWNT manager ahead of the team’s June friendlies.

Hayes made the rounds on Thursday, appearing on the Today Show and speaking with select media about her goals and underlying principles with the team. It’s a quick turnaround for the decorated coach, who just won the WSL with Chelsea last weekend.

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One thing that she won’t do, however, is shy away from the high expectations that come with managing the US. The squad is looking to reinstate its winning reputation at the Paris Olympics this summer following a disappointing World Cup in 2023. 

"I know the challenge ahead of me. There is no denying there is a gap between the US and the rest of the world," she told ESPN. "We have to acknowledge that winning at the highest level isn't what it was 10 years ago. It's a completely different landscape. And my focus is going to be on getting the performances required to play at a high level against the very best nations in the world."

While Hayes was formally hired six months ago to lead the USWNT, her deal stipulated that she remain with Chelsea through the conclusion of their season. In her stead, Twila Kilgore has led the team, with the coach "drip feeding subliminal messages" to the roster on Hayes’s behalf.

"It's a bit ass-upwards," Hayes joked to reporters. "I know about the staff, and the team, and the structure behind it. We got all of that. Now it's time, I need to be with the team."

With Olympics now just two months away, Hayes dropped hints this week regarding her thought process behind building the roster, saying there’s still time for players to make their case.

"You can't go to an Olympics with a completely inexperienced squad. We need our experienced players, but getting that composition right, that's my job between now and June 16th," she said on the Today Show.

"What I can say from my time [in the US] is, I've always loved the attitude towards performance and the expectation to give everything you've got," she later affirmed to reporters.

And as for winning gold?

"I'm never gonna tell anyone to not dream about winning," she added. "But… we have to go step by step, and focus on all the little processes that need to happen so we can perform at our best level.

"I will give it absolutely everything I've got to make sure I uphold the traditions of this team."

Australia has confirmed that captain and star striker Sam Kerr will miss the Paris Olympics due to an ACL injury suffered early this year. 

Kerr, who also stars for Chelsea, tore her ACL in January. While unlikely that she would recover in time for the Olympics, Football Australia (FA) hadn’t confirmed her status until Tuesday when the team revealed its squad for upcoming warm-up games. 

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In a statement, the FA said that Kerr remained on the sidelines and will continue her rehab program at Chelsea. 

"Attacker Amy Sayer (ACL) and forward Sam Kerr (ACL) remain on the sidelines with long term injuries," the report read. "Kerr and Sayer will continue their rehabilitation programmes in their home club environments and subsequently will not be available for selection for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games."

Tuesdays 23-player squad is a "strong guide" to the final Olympic lineup, according to coach Tony Gustavsson, but others like injured midfielders Katrina Gorry and Aivi Luik could potentially figure into the conversation. 

"[They] most likely will be physically available to be part of an Olympic roster," Gustavsson said of Gorry and Luik. "This window will be a tough one for me and my staff in terms of evaluating players, where they are, and then the final selection process for Paris."

The USWNT dropped its June roster on Tuesday, the first under newly minted head coach Emma Hayes. 

The USWNT is entering a new era ahead of the national team's two June friendlies with the Republic of Korea, with veterans blending with more recent additions throughout the lineup. The squad unveiled today included a few surprises, as well as some key absences as the USWNT steers toward the 2024 Olympics.

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Notably, longtime starting goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher will not be reporting to camp this month. Naeher was injured in the Chicago Red Stars’ win over Utah on May 12th and did not play over the weekend, although she did travel with the team to New Jersey. 

On the team’s injury report, Naeher was listed as out with a thigh injury. Coach Lorne Donaldson said ahead of the match that the team was "still evaluating [Naher], but no, it doesn't look good" in regards to her availability. 

As a result, Jane Campbell, Aubrey Kingsbury, and Casey Murphy all received a call up, with Murphy the most-capped goalkeeper of the trio.

Some recently injured stars did manage to make their way onto the roster, with Alex Morgan and Jaedyn Shaw both included among the team's forwards. Morgan hasn't played since April 20th, but recently posted a photo of herself training to her Instagram story with the caption "Work in progress."

Shaw, meanwhile, went down with an ankle injury on May 13th, sitting out San Diego’s latest game. 

Other call-ups fresh off the injured list include Naomi Girma and Tierna Davidson, although both recently returned to club play. Midfielder Rose Lavelle will also make her return to the USWNT roster after having been out since the W Gold Cup.

Ajax’s Lily Yohannes finds herself rostered once again the 16-year-old dual national continues to mull her national team options between the USWNT and the Netherlands. 

There’s a number of Washington Spirit players on the roster this time around, with Hal Hershfelt earning her first USWNT call-up alongside Chicago's Sam Staab. NWSL rookie of the month Croix Bethune, Kate Wiesner, and Olivia Moultrie will join as training players. 

One glaring roster absence was Lynn Williams, who was not included among the team’s forwards. On Sunday, Williams broke the NWSL all-time scoring record with her 79th career goal in Gotham's victory over Chicago. Joining the forward group is Crystal Dunn, who has traditionally played as a defender with the USWNT and as a midfielder in the NWSL.

"I’m really looking forward to getting started," Hayes said in a USWNT press release. "The preparations have been well underway and I can’t wait to get into camp. We know it’s a short turnaround and we have a lot of work to do, but I’m fully focused on making sure that the performances are at the levels that are required to compete. 

"I expect complete commitment from everyone to absorb very quickly the things that I value as the most important so that we can compete this summer. I know they are a highly coachable group and I’m looking forward to challenging them. It’s time to go to work. I can’t wait to meet the fans and it’s really time to get behind the team as we get closer to putting a roster together for the Olympics."

Full June roster:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage)

DEFENDERS (7): Tierna Davidson (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Fox (Arsenal FC, ENG), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Casey Krueger (Washington Spirit), Jenna Nighswonger (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Sonnett (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Sam Staab (Chicago Red Stars)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Korbin Albert (Paris Saint-Germain), Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC), Hal Hershfelt (Washington Spirit), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon), Rose Lavelle (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Sonnett (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Lily Yohannes (Ajax)

FORWARDS (7): Crystal Dunn (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Catarina Macario (Chelsea), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns), Mallory Swanson (Chicago Red Stars)

FIFA has set the dates for the first edition of the Women’s Club World Cup.

The first Women's Club World Cup will take place in January-February 2026, with the 16-team tournament held every four years after that, FIFA said in Wednesday's statement. Initial plans to introduce a Women’s Club World Cup were revealed in May 2021 by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who then called it was part of a plan to "revolutionize" the women’s game.

"It’s crucial, after the huge, huge success in Australia and New Zealand at the last [FIFA] Women's World Cup, where we had two million viewers in the stadiums [and] two billion around the world, that we build on that success to create new global competitions, because national team football is obviously based on club football as well," Infantino said following today's FIFA Council meeting, which occurred in advance of the 74th FIFA Congress in Bangkok.

The council additionally unanimously approved a new international match calendar with a focus on increased opportunities for rest and recovery for both players and coaches. The overloaded calendar in the women’s game has been a growing point of contention for players as the number of injuries — specifically ACL injuries — continue to rise.

Between summer international tournaments and delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, certain European teams had to contend with the possibility of extremely condensed playing demands. That meant balancing workloads between the 2020 Olympics (held in 2021), 2022 European Championships, 2023 Women's World Cup, 2024 Olympics, and another Euros in 2025. 

When England failed to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics in December 2023, captain Leah Williamson told the Telegraph that she and her teammates were actually a bit relieved to have the summer off.

"It's horrendous that one of the first things that popped into my head about the Olympics was, 'at least they'll probably all get another two or three years on their career now, because they'll get a summer off,'" she said. "Everyone needs a rest and now they'll get one.

"Nowadays we get to October and girls are saying, 'I'm tired,' because you're carrying so much from the previous season. We are driving ourselves into the ground with it, so some sort of solution needs to be found soon, in terms of the schedule, otherwise it's not sustainable."

It should be said that the international schedule doesn’t include club responsibilities. The NWSL season kicked off this year with a number of players sidelined due to injuries picked up while playing for their national squads. This was an issue for Gotham FC, whose coach Juan Carlos Amorós called out the international schedule after USWNT forward Midge Purce suffered an ACL tear after competing in the Concacaf Women's Gold Cup.

"We lost Midge during the game which for me is a bittersweet flavor," Amorós told reporters after Purce exited Gotham's March 24th match against Portland. "By the way, it’s another player that came from the Gold Cup. Last week, it was Debinha. We are paying the consequences of a tournament that shouldn’t have happened.

"We’re talking about protecting the players, [who shouldn't] go to play an international competition after one week of preseason. We’ve seen the consequences now. We’ve got Rose, Lynn, last week it was Debinha in Kansas [City] and now we have Midge. From my experience, the clubs are going to keep paying for that competition."

On Wednesday, Infantino said that rectifying the international match calendar is another step in enhancing the level of competition across the board.

"The Women's International Match Calendar and the subsequent amendments to our regulations represent an important milestone in our pledge to take the women's game to the next level by enhancing competitiveness across the world," he said.

"This calendar is such a critical tool to ensure we continue to drive global professionalization of women’s football," added FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer Dame Sarai Bareman in a statement. "In many parts of the world, international football provides crucial top-flight playing opportunities for female players, and this is particularly the case in nations where domestic leagues are not yet fully professional. This calendar strikes a balance to enable the domestic and international games to grow side by side, while at the same time ensuring players will have more opportunities to rest, recover, and re-train between windows and following major tournaments."

Alyssa Naeher exited the Chicago Red Stars game early on Sunday with an apparent injury.

After making a recovery run in the second half of Chicago's 3-1 win over the Utah Royals, the 36-year-old walked off the pitch limping but unassisted in the 62nd minute. She was replaced by backup keeper Mackenzie Wood.

Red Stars head coach Lorne Donaldson didn’t offer an update on the star goalkeeper's status in his postgame interview.

"No [update], I'm leaving it to the pros — the medical staff — so I don't know what's going on yet," he said.

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While the injury is bad news for Chicago, who currently sit fifth in the NWSL table, it’s also potentially troubling for the UWSNT's Olympic prospects. Naeher, a two-time Women's World Cup champion with the US, has served as the team's default starting goalkeeper for the last several years. 

Naeher is virtually a lock for the 2024 Olympics, should her injury not be too serious. But depending on its gravity, the knock could keep her out of a series of upcoming friendlies kicking off June 1st and 4th, Emma Hayes’ first as head coach for the USWNT. 

Also leaving her game with an injury on Sunday was Jaedyn Shaw, who limped off the pitch well into stoppage time in the Wave's 1-1 draw with Gotham FC. Shaw has recently emerged as one of the Wave's top strikers, making it all the more concerning if she ends up joining teammates Alex Morgan, Naomi Girma, and Abby Dahlkemper on the injured list. All four have played in recent camps for the USWNT.

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San Diego head coach Casey Stoney did not provide an update following Sunday's game, but noted that she thought Shaw had landed on her ankle. 

The 2024 Paris Olympics begins Friday, July 26th, with rostered players scheduled to appear in their final club matches in mid-July.

USWNT stalwart Alex Morgan will miss at least one week of NWSL action after suffering a left ankle knock in her last club appearance, Wave manager Casey Stoney said on Thursday.

Morgan was helped off the field after rolling her ankle in the later stages of the Wave’s 1-0 loss to the Orlando Pride last weekend, despite the San Diego side being out of available substitutes.

“She's got an ankle injury and she's out for this weekend, and then it'll be week by week from there,” Stoney said, confirming that Morgan’s been ruled out for Saturday’s showdown with NWSL newcomer Bay FC.

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Depending on its severity, Morgan’s ankle issue might have larger ramifications than missing a few weeks of NSWL play. Morgan was added to the team's Gold Cup roster after an ACL injury sidelined young striker Mia Fishel, and she's since made a number of USWNT starts in the team's Gold Cup and SheBelieves wins. A long-term injury could potentially derail the center forward’s Olympic plans.

With her return timeline uncertain, it's possible the injury could also impact Morgan's ability to participate in new head coach Emma Hayes' first U.S. friendlies in June and July.

Morgan's injury concerns aren't uncommon in the U.S. player pool, but add a sense of urgency as Hayes eyes the NWSL for top-performing players in the upcoming weeks. Gotham's Tierna Davidson and Rose Lavelle have also been dealing with injuries: Lavelle has yet to appear for Gotham, while Davidson exited last weekend's match early with a hamstring injury.

Gotham has yet to issue an update concerning Davidson's status.

U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday that the USWNT will play their last home game on July 16th in the lead-up to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

The 2024 Send-Off Match against Costa Rica will take place at Washington, DC’s Audi Field — home to both the Washington Spirit and DC United — at 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 16th. The friendly rounds out a four-game Olympic run-up campaign under incoming head coach Emma Hayes’ side, with the last two set to feature the finalized 2024 U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team roster.

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Hayes will appear on the USWNT sideline for the first time this June, helming the team as they embark on a two-game series against Korea Republic hosted by Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado on June 1st followed by Allianz Stadium in St. Paul, Minnesota on June 4th. 

The team is then scheduled to meet a talented Mexico squad on July 13th at Gotham FC’s Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, where the Olympic-bound lineup will attempt to rewrite February’s shocking 2-0 loss to El Tri Femenil in the group stages of this year’s Concacaf W Gold Cup. And while clear roster favorites have emerged from both of this year’s Gold Cup and SheBelives Cup rosters, a spate of recent and recurring injuries means making it to the Olympics is still largely anyone’s game.

Broadcast and streaming channels for the USWNT's final July 16th friendly at Audi Field include TNT, truTV, Universo, Max, and Peacock.

The USA Basketball Women's National Team is still considering Caitlin Clark for a spot on the Paris Olympics squad, says selection committee chair Jennifer Rizzotti. 

On Monday, Rizzotti told the AP that the committee will be evaluating the college phenom’s Olympic prospects by keeping a close eye on her first few weeks of WNBA play with Indiana.

The move is somewhat unconventional. While Clark was invited to participate in the 14-player national team training camp held earlier this month — the last camp before Team USA’s roster drops — she was unable to attend due to it coinciding with Iowa’s trip to the NCAA Women’s Final Four.

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Judging by the immense talent spread throughout the league in what might be their most hyped season to date, competition for a piece of the Olympic pie could be fiercer than ever before.

"You always want to introduce new players into the pool whether it's for now or the future," said Rizzotti. "We stick to our principles of talent, obviously, positional fit, loyalty and experience. It's got to be a combination of an entire body of work. It's still not going to be fair to some people."

Of course, Clark isn’t the first rookie the committee has made exceptions for. Coming off an exceptional college season that saw her averaging 19.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 4 assists per game for UConn, Breanna Stewart was tapped to represent the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil less than two weeks after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Seattle Storm. Eight years prior, fellow No. 1 pick Candace Parker punched her ticket to the 2008 Games in Beijing just two weeks after making her first appearance for the L.A. Sparks.

In the lead-up to Paris’ Opening Ceremony on July 26th, USA Basketball Women’s National Team is scheduled to play a pair of exhibition games. They'll first go up against the WNBA's finest at the July 20th WNBA All-Star Game in Phoenix before facing Germany in London on July 23rd.

While an official roster announcement date hasn’t yet been issued, players won’t find out if they’ve made this year’s Olympic cut until at least June 1st.

Rose Lavelle is hoping to return to the field soon. 

The 28-year-old midfielder has been sidelined with a lower leg injury since the Gold Cup in early march. Since then, she has yet to play for new club Gotham FC in the NWSL. She also missed a potential USWNT appearance at the SheBelieves Cup in April, where senior team newcomer Jaedyn Shaw saw success assuming Lavelle's role in the attacking midfield. 

At the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee media showcase on Monday, Lavelle told reporters that she’s doing well and hopes to be back soon.

"I’m doing good — I’m hoping I’ll be back in the next couple weeks," Lavelle said. "It’s frustrating to start the year off with an injury, just because I feel like you come off preseason and you’re revving to go, so it’s so annoying."

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Lavelle is still looking to compete for one of just 18 Olympic roster spots. When healthy, she ranks as one of the national team’s most trusted assets, but considering this most recent injury, her health is an obvious concern. Faced with an onslaught of experienced competitors and young talent, incoming USWNT coach Emma Hayes will have some big decisions to make when selecting the Paris-bound squad — a reality Lavelle seems to be taking in stride as she works to regain full fitness.

"We have so many special players, we have so much depth, and so many different weapons to utilize on and off the bench," Lavelle said. "Unfortunately that means really good players are going to get left off, too. And I think for all of us, it’s just about being ready for whatever role is given to us, embracing that, and looking to put it into a collective picture so that we can go into the Olympics ready to go."

Summer McIntosh has been named the Canadian Press female athlete of the year for 2023 after defending her world titles in the 200-meter butterfly and 400-meter individual medley at the world championships.

The 17-year-old said she is “honored” to receive the award and called it “just really cool.” She is expected to build on her successful year at the Paris Olympics in 2024, but she is keeping a level head.

“What I’m most proud of is just how much I’ve learned about myself and kind of how much I’ve gained from each experience,” McIntosh told CBC. “Going into big meets like a world championship, I don’t really have exact expectations of myself especially when it comes to placement or medals, but I definitely tried to just reach my full potential in each one of my races and I think I did that for the most part.”

After a disappointing 400 freestyle at the world championships, McIntosh rebounded to earn bronze in the 200 freestyle before winning gold in her next two events.

She also helped anchor Canada’s medley relay team to bronze, helping the team qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. McIntosh also set two world record at the Canadian trials in March in the 400 IM and 400 freestyle.

She became the first swimmer in history to hold both of those world records at the same time.

“This time last year, I wouldn’t have ever thought I’d break two world records or previous world records. I think it’s still a bit surreal to be honest,” she said. “That just kind of comes back to trying to just keep my head down and keep working and not focus too much on records like that, but it’s a really cool part and kind of a timestamp in history.”

To end the year, McIntosh beat Katie Ledecky in the 400 freestyle at the U.S. Open in early December, marking the first time that Ledecky had lost the event on U.S. soil in 11 years.