sport news Alexi Lalas urges Emma Hayes to move USWNT on from the era of off-field ... trends now
The US women's national soccer team is entering a new era under coach Emma Hayes – and former men's star Alexi Lalas thinks that's a solid step towards erasing the squad's embarrassing performance at the 2023 World Cup.
'I think you have to work really, really hard to find something wrong with this hire,' Lalas said. 'And she will be judged just like anybody else -- on the results on the field.'
US Soccer is closing in on naming Chelsea's Hayes as the new coach of the women's national team, a source familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Saturday. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details had not been made public.
To Lalas, Hayes' arrival means the US women can refocus on winning games, which he believes became secondary in recent years as players gained notoriety for social activism. He didn't mention controversial retired ex-captain Megan Rapinoe by name, but Lalas seemed to blame activist players with large social media followings for the team's round-of-16 finish at August's World Cup.
'I hope that Emma Hayes is given the keys and given the ability to do what she what she feels is appropriate,' Lalas said. 'Now she has a reputation for not suffering fools, and I think that this team and this particular moment, I think it needs to get back to the focus and the priority being on winning soccer games and winning World Cups.
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes who will leave the club at the end of the season
Former USMNT defender Alexi Lalas wants Emma Hayes to clean house with the US women
'I hope Emma Hayes also comes in and cleans house to the extent that she can, and brings in people that she is comfortable with, and focuses back in on, ''I don't care how big a name you are, I don't care how much money you have, I don't care how many followers you have, I don't care what your off-field positions and platforms are – I care that when that whistle blows, that you win soccer games for the United States,' Lalas continued. 'I hope that she is given the opportunity to do that and there's not too many cooks in the kitchen.'
Fortunately, Lalas explained, Hayes has the personality to do just that.
While he admits he doesn't know her well, Lalas said he and Hayes did meet for drinks at the World Cup, where he was impressed with her outlook.
'I got to meet her this summer at the women's World Cup,' he said. 'We had some drinks and I had a really fun time and fun