In her first official interview as the head coach of the US Women’s National Team (USWNT), Emma Hayes shared her plans for the next two months as she gears up for the Paris Olympics. Speaking on the USA TODAY Show, as reported by GOAL, Hayes discussed how she received the news of her appointment, her upcoming June camp, and her focus leading up to the Paris Games.

Hayes arrived in the USA on Thursday morning for her first official appearance as coach. She expressed her excitement about leading a “hugely successful program.” The moment she found out about her new role was quite memorable. “I was sat in my kitchen, my son was running around, and I was with an old coaching friend – an American who had come to visit me. We were chatting when a text message came through. I looked up and said to my friend, ‘You won't believe what I've just read… I am the new US women's national team coach.' She jumped out of her chair – it was the most amazing news,” Hayes recounted.

Plans for the Paris Olympics

Emma Hayes is now ready to implement her system, work with the players, and get to know her selection pool. Her immediate focus is on preparation, especially after the USWNT's disappointing performance at the 2023 FIFA World Cup. Hayes explained, “You take it step by step; you can't cut corners. Historically, the program has been hugely successful, but the rest of the world has caught up. We've got a lot of work to do. It starts with going into camp next week. We've got two get-togethers prior to the Olympics. Twila Kilgore, the interim head coach before me, has been implementing a lot of things, so we're as ready as we can be at this moment.”

Hayes is determined to embrace the journey towards the podium in Paris and to get to know her squad thoroughly. “Embrace it, enjoy it! I want to focus on the process, I want to focus on the performance. I want to get to know the players. I want to make sure that in the limited time we have together, we make the most of it. For me, pressure is a huge privilege. We get the opportunity to go to the Olympics, and my focus is to make sure that everybody is as prepared as they possibly can be,” she said.

One of Hayes' key challenges will be selecting her roster and balancing between talented youth and experienced veterans. She views this as a positive challenge. “I think that'll always be the case. That's always what happens – teams evolve. For me, it’s about the combination, the blend… we need the right mix. You can't go to an Olympics with a completely inexperienced squad. We need our experienced players, but getting that composition right is my job between now and June 16,” Hayes explained. “My focus is on the performances of the team, and I want to get that right first.”

First Matches and Future Plans for USWNT

Hayes' first two matches as USWNT coach will be on June 1 and 4 in a doubleheader against the Korea Republic. These matches will be followed by games against Mexico and Costa Rica in July as final preparations for the Paris Games. Hayes emphasized the importance of these matches for building team cohesion and evaluating players.

“The upcoming matches are crucial. They will give me a chance to see the players in action and to start implementing my strategies. It's not just about winning these games but about seeing how the team gels together and identifying areas we need to work on,” she noted.

As the USWNT prepares for these important fixtures, Hayes remains focused on leading the team to success at the Paris Olympics. “We have a great opportunity ahead of us. The Olympics is a prestigious event, and we want to make the most of it. My job is to ensure that the team is ready and that we perform at our best on the biggest stage.”

The journey to the Olympics is just beginning, and Emma Hayes is ready to lead the USWNT towards success. With her experience, vision, and dedication, she aims to bring out the best in her players and restore the USWNT to its former glory.