Home Sports Emma Hayes’ first USWNT roster reveals a team that already evolved in her absence

Emma Hayes’ first USWNT roster reveals a team that already evolved in her absence

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Chelsea manager Emma Hayes addresses the fans after winning the Barclays Women's Super League and her final match in charge of the club at Old Trafford, Manchester. Photo date: Saturday May 18, 2024. (Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)

New U.S. women’s national team manager Emma Hayes will inherit a team that has largely already been rebuilt. (Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)

There are some peripheral surprises and an intriguing positional designation. But for the most part, Emma Hayes’ first roster on the US women’s national team speaks to an evolution that began long before her long-awaited arrival.

US Soccer revealed that list Tuesday, as Hayes prepared for a Wednesday flight from London to New York City. From there he will go to Denver, where he will formally take charge of the USWNT next week.

But for months since his appointment in November, he was working “in the background,” as he said Saturday. He was communicating with interim coach Twila Kilgore, helping to shape the team he would soon inherit. He led him, silently, when he had free time, through a bumpy transition that already feels closer to his destination than to his starting point.

Case in point: Their 23-player roster includes only 11 2023 World Cup survivors. However, of the other 12, 10 have USWNT camp experience.

They have coalesced into a trophy-winning team in recent months, and a depth chart that Hayes won’t have to break or even alter.

Naomi Girma, Tierna Davidson and Emily Fox are starting defenders.

Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle and Sam Coffey are mainstays in the midfield.

Jaedyn Shaw, Mallory Swanson, Sophia Smith, Alex Morgan and Trinity Rodman make up an attack full of options.

All 11 players are on Hayes’ inaugural roster, just as they have been when healthy since the beginning of the year.

Also included, to no one’s surprise, are half a dozen players presumably on the Olympic roster bubble: Emily Sonnett, Casey Krueger, Jenna Nighswonger, Korbin Albert, Crystal Dunn and Catarina Macario.

The surprising inclusions are defender Sam Staab (over Abby Dahlkemper) and midfielder Hal Hershfelt (over Olivia Moultrie). Rounding out the group of non-goalkeepers is 16-year-old Lily Yohannes, who received her first call-up in April. But the equipment, overall, represents a refinement, not an overhaul.

Of those 20, and perhaps a few other players, Hayes must choose 16 outfield players for the Olympic roster, plus two goalkeepers.

From two friendlies against South Korea next month and two more against Mexico and Costa Rica in July, he will gather information that could inform his final decisions. She will modify the tactics; toy with different combinations; and developing preferences for certain players over others.

However, your learning library is already well stocked. Kilgore, who will remain as assistant coach, has taken over. He met with Hayes in person during the intervening period. They chatted on the phone or Zoom regularly. She grew into the role and did well to steady a shaky ship.

So when Hayes arrives this week, while he will have a lot to get familiar with, his core – the players, the most important part of any national team – will already be in place.

Below, sorted by position, is the USWNT’s roster for a training camp in May and two games, June 1 and 4, against South Korea.

There are two notable positional designations. Dunn, long considered a winger by several national team coaches, is listed as a forward. He has spent most of his club career in various midfield and attacking roles, in the NWSL and at Chelsea, where he played for Hayes in 2017 and 2018.

And Sonnett, who played defensive midfielder for club and country last year, is back among the defenders, where he spent most of his career.

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

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

Midfielders (6): Korbin Albert (Paris Saint-Germain), Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns), Hal Hershfelt (Washington Spirit), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon), Rose Lavelle (Gotham FC), Lily Yohannes (Ajax)

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

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