Newly-appointed USWNT manager Emma Hayes recently called up a squad of 23 women to face South Korea in her debut as the coach. Hayes signed a contract with the national team in November which would pay her around $1.6 million per year. She stepped away from her former club, Chelsea, after winning the Women’s Super League title.

“I’m really looking forward to getting started,” Hayes said in a statement. “The preparations have been well underway and I can’t wait to get into camp. We know it’s a short turnaround and we have a lot of work to do, but I’m fully focused on making sure that the performances are at the levels that are required to compete.”

The friendlies against South Korea serve as a useful way to prepare for the Paris Olympics, which begins in July. They will look to advance from a group that includes Zambia, Germany, and Australia.

Hayes era starts with setbacks

It’s evident that, based on this new USWNT squad, the team still evolved without a permanent head coach. The retirements of Julie Ertz and Megan Rapinoe affected the squad heavily, but the team is still brimming with quality.

They still have one of the best attacking groups with Sophia Smith, Lindsey Horan, Alex Morgan, and Trinity Rodman. They have a huge pool of players to pull from the hugely competitive NWSL (only five players play overseas). And, despite the amount of experience and hunger from veterans, three uncapped players join the team. Hayes has an exciting, diverse squad at her disposal. Youth and experience, attack and defense, differing playstyles. The one connection is the hunger to avenge the early World Cup exit.

Chicago Red Stars shot-stopper Alyssa Naeher started for the squad during the World Cup. She misses this camp due to injury.

Friendlies against South Korea are significant

The two friendlies against South Korea are hugely important. Not only is it Hayes’ debut as the national team manager. The USWNT takes on a challenging opponent. South Korea is a dominant force in the AFC, and they qualified for the 2023 World Cup.

The USWNT starts its friendly campaign against South Korea on June 1. DSG Park in Colorado is hosting Hayes’ debut with the USWNT. They then play the same opponent on June 4 in Minneapolis to close out their slate of games.

Friendlies against Mexico and Costa Rica in July wait ahead.

GOALKEEPERS: Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage)

DEFENDERS: Tierna Davidson (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Fox (Arsenal FC, ENG), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Casey Krueger (Washington Spirit), Jenna Nighswonger (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Sonnett (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Sam Staab (Chicago Red Stars)

MIDFIELDERS: Korbin Albert (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA), Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC), Hal Hershfelt (Washington Spirit), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA), Rose Lavelle (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Lily Yohannes (Ajax, NED)

FORWARDS: Crystal Dunn (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Catarina Macario (Chelsea FC, ENG), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave FC), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Mallory Swanson (Chicago Red Stars)