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Dominant and disciplined: USWNT adapts to the ‘Hayes Way’

USWNT coach Emma Hayes directs her squad from the sidelines.
Photo Copyright Ron Chenoy for USA TODAY Sports

The United States women’s national team has entered a new chapter with the arrival of Emma Hayes. While a lot of the talk will be around the effect of the personality and swagger of Hayes on the USWNT, there is a wider discussion to be had on the style of football she’ll implement. We’ve only seen two games so far, but there’s been enough in the double-header against South Korea for us to take away some key tactical concepts, namely in possession, and explain the type of system Hayes will look to play. 

Hayes’ first two games in charge had similarities and differences in each phase of them but the distinct style she integrated into her team was the most telling. The team was set up in a clear shift away from previous head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s play style and the players were given a new perspective. Hayes’ teams are built around game domination, adaption, and versatility. A lot of what we saw at Chelsea was players who could play in various roles and positions but also adapt to game state: dominate or play transition football when required. The ways Hayes built and rebuilt her Chelsea side over the years have demonstrated to us variability and a knack for coming up with different solutions with the players at her disposal.

Unlike at club level, Hayes won’t have a transfer window but rather a plethora of players to pick from. Fortunately for her, the USWNT roster and extended network are brimming with talent both young and experienced and she should find the personnel needed to implement her ideas. The first concept we’ll explore is build-up.

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