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USWNT keen for Emma Hayes to meet squad in December as Chelsea boss begins balancing act

USWNT keen for Emma Hayes to meet squad in December as Chelsea boss begins balancing act

US Soccer chiefs are “hopeful” Chelsea manager Emma Hayes can visit her new team during the upcoming December international break.

The Blues boss will depart at the end of the season to become the highest-paid female coach in world football, earning parity with her men's team counterpart Gregg Berhalter.

Hayes, who has won six Women's Super League titles, five FA Cups and two League Cups, is yet to explain if she will have a hands-on role with the United States while managing Chelsea.

However, at the announcement of the latest squad, it is clear Hayes's influence is already being felt.

"We’re sharing information, knowledge sharing," revealed interim coach Twila Kilgore, who will oversee the camp that features two matches against China.

This is Emma Hayes' final season in charge of Chelsea (Action Images via Reuters)
This is Emma Hayes' final season in charge of Chelsea (Action Images via Reuters)

"These are 'us' decisions. I will have time to visit Emma in London in person, and hopefully visa-versa, so things are off to a great start and we plan to do this together to the best of our ability."

Matt Crocker, who is the technical director for the United States Soccer Federation, hired Hayes after an extensive interview test, which she passed with flying colours.

He revealed Hayes was interviewed in New York before sealing the record deal in London a fortnight ago. He listed her "leadership, experience, evolution of style, serial winner and ‘legacy coach’" skillset as five key reasons for hiring her, despite the obvious disadvantage of not having her until the end of the season.

Crocker twice said he is “hopeful” Hayes will join up with the players at the upcoming camp but much remains unclear ahead of the Olympics, while Chelsea compete on multiple fronts in English and European football.

It seems a degree of compromise is being sought, with Crocker adding: "It's not ideal Emma can’t start with us right away.

"But from my perspective, what was important is that we’ve got the best candidate for the long term rather than the wrong candidate for the short term."

Hayes has already been involved in picking this US squad, dropping experienced stars like forward Alex Morgan, goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and defenders Becky Sauerbrunn and Crystal Dunn. She has picked a young squad featuring two players earning their first senior call-ups.

Crocker hinted Hayes would be based out of the new state-of-the-art complex in Atlanta, Georgia, where she will also influence the wider sport on women's health, the technical side of the sport and the youth systems at the world's most successful national team.

She will, however, need to be competitive to win major tournaments while giving her influence, with Crocker adding: “She has a deep knowledge already, it is one of the results she looks out for after Chelsea.

“One of her biggest skills is not just being a serial winner but caring about the whole game and ecosystem -- having her ability to tap into that will be key, however, her job will be about making this team serial winners."