United States forward Trinity Rodman said its early exit at the World Cup was a turning point for the squad, and the arrival of Emma Hayes as its new manager comes at the perfect time with the Paris Olympics just around the corner.
The U.S. had been going for a third straight World Cup title in Australia and New Zealand but was eliminated by Sweden in the Round of 16.
Vlatko Andonovski stepped down as coach shortly after their exit, and the changes kept coming with the retirements of stalwarts Megan Rapinoe and Julie Ertz.
But the naming of long-time Chelsea manager Hayes has given the squad the belief that they can quickly reassert their dominance on the global stage when the Paris Games begin in July.
“Failures bring us to succeed,” Rodman told reporters ahead of the team’s friendly against China in Florida on Saturday.
“For the U.S. team, we always talk about how we’ve been the best forever. But at the World Cup, we did not show that.
“So it’s a weird moment for her to come in, but it’s almost perfect timing because the World Cup was such a huge learning experience for the new players, veterans and everybody in between.
“Teams are getting better ... and we don’t dominate every team we play against.”
Rodman said Hayes does not want the players to stray from who they are on the pitch.
“She wants us to be the players that we came into these camps as she doesn’t want us moulded into something else,” said Rodman, the 21-year-old daughter of NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman.
“She wants our personalities to show through our game.”
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