Emma Hayes mixes USWNT with youth and experience in pursuit of gold at 2024 Olympics

USWNT coach Emma Hayes reveals a list of players for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, mixing experience and youth in the quest for gold
South Korea v United States
South Korea v United States / Robin Alam/ISI Photos/GettyImages

The arrival of the Olympics always carries an aura of excitement and anticipation, but this time, the announcement of the US Women's National Team (USWNT) line-up for the Paris 2024 Games came with a good dose of surprises. Emma Hayes, a coach renowned for her cunning and tactical ability, had very little time and only two games with the players to draw up the roster for the year's main competition. She chose a squad that mixes experienced veterans and youngsters, and who knows, it could be this daring formula that will take the team to the top of the podium.

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Hayes named 18 players and four substitutes, making it clear that the internal competition was fierce. "Choosing a squad of 18 players plus substitutes involved a lot of consideration," said Hayes, highlighting the arduous selection process. The inclusion of only eight players in the 2020 Olympic squad shows that Hayes is ready to renew the team and bet on new talent. After all, that's why she was hired.

Among those chosen, Casey Murphy and Alyssa Naeher stand out as goalkeepers. Naeher, with her vast experience and 104 appearances, brings an unshakeable confidence to the goal, while Murphy represents the new generation, ready to learn and shine. The defense, made up of names such as Tierna Davidson and Emily Fox, combines strength and agility, essential for facing high-level opponents.

The midfield, traditionally the heart of any team, is brimming with talent with Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle leading the way. These two players' ability to control the pace of the game will be crucial to the team's success. The addition of Korbin Albert and Sam Coffey to the midfield is a bold move by Hayes, showing his confidence in the young players to play a vital role.

In attack, the squad couldn't be more promising. Crystal Dunn and Mallory Swanson bring a blend of speed and precision, while Trinity Rodman and Sophia Smith promise to be rising stars, ready to make their mark on the French pitch. Dunn's versatility, who can play in both defense and attack, will be a tactical asset for Hayes.

It's impossible to ignore the absence of some veterans who have been pillars of the team in past competitions. However, Hayes' decision can be seen as an attempt to inject new vigor and creativity into the team. After all, the Olympic Games are not just about experience, but also about the ability to innovate and surprise.

With preparations for the Games in full swing, the farewell matches against Mexico and Costa Rica will be crucial tests. These matches will not only serve to adjust tactics, but also to strengthen team spirit. The match against Zambia, which opens the USA's Olympic campaign, will be a perfect opportunity for the players to show their grit and determination.

The challenges facing the USWNT in Paris are immense. Games against Germany and Australia in the group promise to be intense and will demand the maximum from each player. Hayes' decision to combine youth and experience will be tested to the full, and only time will tell if this bold gamble will pay off. Even if you consider that the other teams have also evolved and have great players, such as reigning world champions Spain, who are part of another group but are strong contenders for the podium.

But beyond the tactics and the composition of the squad, what really resonates is Hayes' philosophy. His belief in the potential of the younger players not only inspires confidence, but also sends out a powerful message about the importance of renewal and adaptation. Something that has taken time to do at the USMNT. In a sport where tradition often dictates choices, Hayes is showing that the courage to change is just as vital as skill on the pitch.

As the countdown to the Paris Games continues, the eyes of the world will be on this multi-faceted team. The USWNT's journey under Emma Hayes promises to be a story of audacity. The path to gold is uncertain, but one thing is clear: with Hayes at the helm, the USWNT is ready to meet any challenge head on.

CHICAGO (June 26, 2024) – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Emma Hayes has named the 18-player roster plus four alternates for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Just eight players who were on the USA’s roster for the 2020 Olympics (which was played in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic) make a return this summer while 10 players who were members of the USA’s 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team were named to the final roster for Paris.

2024 U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team Roster by position (Caps/Goals)

GOALKEEPERS (2): Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 19), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 104)

DEFENDERS (6): Tierna Davidson (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 58/3), Emily Fox (Arsenal FC, ENG; 49/1), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC; 32/0), Casey Krueger (Washington Spirit; 49/0), Jenna Nighswonger (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 9/2), Emily Sonnett (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 91/2)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Korbin Albert (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA; 11/0), Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC; 17/1), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 148/35), Rose Lavelle (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 100/24), Catarina Macario (Chelsea FC, ENG; 19/8)

FORWARDS (5):Crystal Dunn (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 147/25), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit; 38/7), Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave FC; 14/7), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 48/19), Mallory Swanson (Chicago Red Stars; 92/34)