The U.S. women’s soccer team will take time to address their worst-ever performance at a Women’s World Cup before shifting focus to next year’s Paris Olympics, interim head coach Twila Kilgore said on Tuesday.
When the team gathers for a camp ahead of Sept. 21 and Sept. 24 friendlies against South Africa, Kilgore said they will spend time addressing players’ disappointment and emotions from their Round of 16 exit to Sweden at the World Cup last month.
“It’s something that we’ve talked a lot about within the programme, player to player, coach to player, amongst the staff,” Kilgore told reporters on a conference call after the training camp roster for the two friendlies was announced.
“And it’s really important that we do have a conversation and address what’s happened but also quickly take the learnings from that, close the door and start looking forward toward the Olympics.”
Vlatko Andonovski stepped down as coach of the national team 11 days after their early World Cup exit and Kilgore, who had served as his assistant for 1-1/2 years, has stepped in while a search for a permanent coach is conducted.
The friendlies will mark the end of an era for the USWNT given the September 21 game in Cincinnati will be Julie Ertz’s last with the national team while Megan Rapinoe will feature for the final time in the Chicago game three days later.
“Both have been part of multiple World Cups and Olympics and have helped drive the game forward. But also off the field they have contributed to making sure that the whole soccer landscape is progressing forward, especially for women,” said Kilgore.
“We’ll feel a hole from them on the field, we’ll feel that, but their legacy will continue off the field in many, many ways.”
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