Sophia Smith and Naomi Girma have big shoes to fill in the Olympic year. And one big question still remains: can new head coach Emma Hayes restore the USA to Olympic glory at Paris 2024?
4 minBy Sam Peene
2024 marks a new era for the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) as Emma Hayes prepares to step in to take the reins as head coach with a new generation of players on the pitch.
All eyes will be watching the Americans in the Olympic year as they attempt to avenge their devastating round-of-16 loss to Sweden at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
With Hayes in, Rapinoe out and up-and-coming talents like Sophia Smith and Naomi Girma finding their feet, the program looks entirely different than it did even 12 months ago.
With just under six months to go until thel Olympic Games Paris 2024 kicks off, Olympics.com looks at the players to keep an eye on as the USA attempts to bounce back from the shock World Cup exit that marred their 2023.
USA's Olympic History in Women's Football
Changing of the guard: The new USWNT faces that are taking over
At the forefront of the new generation of US players hoping to lead the nation back to glory are the 2022 and 2023 U.S. Soccer Female Players of the Year Sophia Smith and Naomi Girma.
There are few defenders on the pitch more talented than 23-year-old Girma, and much will be expected of her as she heads into just her third year on the full National Team. The 2023 FIFA World Cup was her first-ever championship at a senior level yet by the end of 2023 she was one of the first names on the team sheet, finishing third on the USWNT for minutes on the pitch.
Having taken the U.S. Player of the Year award the year ahead of Girma in 2022, Smith was nominated again in 2023 after leading the National Women’s Soccer League in scoring for the year with 11 goals in 16 games.
During the regular season, she became the third player in history to record two hat tricks in a single season, after Sam Kerr and Kristen Hamilton. The historic games came less than two months apart.
Trinity Rodman started all 19 matches she appeared in during the 2023 season and became the youngest player in National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) history to record 10 assists and 10 goals in a regular season. At 21 years old, she is only going to get better.
Emily Fox and Crystal Dunn were also standout players in 2023 who started in every match at the Women’s World Cup.
18-year-old Olivia Moultrie is another player who is quickly progressing with the national team. Her strong performances during the season were recognised when she was named 2023 Chipotle Young Female Player of the Year.
The Utah native dominated in the U-20 scene and was one of the USA’s top players at the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in 2022. She earned her first cap for the USWNT in December 2023.
USA players line up during the penalty shootout during the FIFA Women's World Cup Round of 16 match against Sweden.
Can the USA bounce back from a surprise exit at the 2023 World Cup to win Olympic gold?
The USWNT will be desperate to return to former glories after a shocking round-of-16 knockout in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.
As one of the powerhouses of women’s soccer, the American women would often enter tournaments as the top-seeded team.
Victory in the World Cup would have seen them become the first team to ever win three consecutive world titles, but their shock defeat by Sweden on penalties left them licking their wounds as they were dumped out of the tournament. It was the first time ever the USA failed to reach a World Cup podium.
Now the USWNT is switching gears as they prepare for the Paris 2024 Olympics as four-time winners and Tokyo 2020 bronze medalists.
The new generation will be on full display as they attempt to reclaim their position as the world's most dominant female football team.
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In the given article, the focus is on the United States Women's National Team (USWNT) and their preparations for the Olympic year, specifically the Paris 2024 Olympics. The article mentions the new head coach, Emma Hayes, and the expectations for the team to restore the USA to Olympic glory. It also highlights the players to watch, including Sophia Smith and Naomi Girma, who are part of the new generation of players aiming to lead the team back to success.
To provide information related to the concepts mentioned in the article, let's discuss the following points:
Emma Hayes as the new head coach:
Emma Hayes is mentioned as the new head coach of the United States Women's National Team (USWNT). She is expected to take the reins and lead the team in the Olympic year. While the article doesn't provide specific details about Emma Hayes, it is worth noting that she is a highly respected and accomplished coach. She has been the manager of Chelsea Women's Football Club since 2012 and has achieved significant success with the team, including multiple domestic titles. Her appointment as the head coach of the USWNT demonstrates the high expectations placed on her to restore the team to Olympic glory.
Sophia Smith and Naomi Girma:
The article highlights Sophia Smith and Naomi Girma as two up-and-coming talents in the USWNT. Sophia Smith is mentioned as the 2022 and 2023 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year. She has shown impressive goal-scoring abilities, leading the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) in scoring in 2023 with 11 goals in 16 games. Naomi Girma, on the other hand, is recognized as a talented defender. Despite being just 23 years old, she has already made a significant impact on the team, finishing third in minutes played during the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. Both players are expected to play crucial roles in the team's quest for Olympic success.
USWNT's performance in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup:
The article mentions the USWNT's devastating round-of-16 loss to Sweden in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. This loss marked a significant disappointment for the team, as they were unable to advance further in the tournament. It was the first time ever that the USA failed to reach a World Cup podium. The team will be eager to bounce back from this setback and regain their position as one of the dominant forces in women's football.
USWNT's Olympic history and goals:
The article mentions that the USWNT is a four-time winner of the Olympic gold medal and also won the bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The team has a rich history of success in women's football and will be aiming to reclaim their position as the world's most dominant female football team at the Paris 2024 Olympics. The USWNT will be determined to return to former glories and overcome their surprise exit at the 2023 World Cup.
In summary, the article discusses the new era for the USWNT under the leadership of head coach Emma Hayes and the expectations for the team in the Olympic year. It highlights the talents of players like Sophia Smith and Naomi Girma, who are part of the new generation of players aiming to restore the team to Olympic glory. The USWNT will be eager to bounce back from their disappointing performance in the 2023 World Cup and reclaim their position as one of the dominant forces in women's football.