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Matt Crocker on Emma Hayes: “We’ve got the best candidate for the long term”


Emma Hayes still has a few months until she is on the sidelines with the U.S. men’s national team, but excitement is certainly building around the new hire.

Hayes will remain with Women’s Super League side Chelsea until the conclusion of the league season next spring, keeping Twila Kilgore in the USMNT interim head coaching role. The 47-year-old Hayes will be part of the staff ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France, which will be her first major competition in charge of the program.

Despite not having Hayes for a few months, U.S. Sporting Director Matt Crocker voiced his readiness for the future of the program.

“It’s not ideal Emma can’t start with us right away,” Crocker said Monday in a press conference. “But from my perspective, what was important is that we’ve got the best candidate for the long term rather than wrong candidate for short term.

“We’re just again working to final details around her would be an ideal situation for her to come and meet the players and staff and we’re very hopeful that that can happen,” he added.

Kilgore, 43, will remain on Hayes staff following her full appointment next spring. The former USWNT U-19 and U-23 head coach is continuing her interim role following Vlatko Andonovski’s departure last August, recently announcing her 26-player roster for December’s pair of home friendlies vs. China PR.

Retaining Kilgore for Hayes’ reign as head coach was important for the USWNT and Crocker has high expectations for the two of them working together.

“I’m really, really confident that working with Twila, we can pull together an outstanding plan to prepare this team for the Olympics in the short term,” Crocker said. “But also for this team to start to evolve and develop and under Twila’s leadership to be ready and strong for the long term. I think with good coaching, with the right tactics to evolve this team in particularly with an in-possession style and also making sure that the players that come in feel like they’ve got the freedom to create and be themselves is going to be critically important.

“And both Emma and Twila have got that in [their] coaching, as will all our technical team,” Crocker added. “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 Emma and Twila.”

The USWNT endured a frustrating elimination at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup last summer and will seek an immediate bounce-back when they return to Olympic involvement next summer in Europe.


  1. as of the WWC i thought both jobs were being handled in a low-rent manner. i think the current idea was to pay the jobs the same (~$1.6m) to preempt the equal pay problem, which is generous for a women’s coach but like half what we paid klinsi for a men’s coach. i don’t know if she’s top of my list but she’s far more serious a selection than the previous guy, or the relative quality we are getting.

    i also like that it sounds like the future coach is helping shape tactics and personnel off-stage unlike our lame duck caretaker situations the last 5 years where we seem to go back to zero under the new coach and no progressive learning takes place.


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