Emma Hayes clarifies roster rules for 2024 Paris Olympics

Emma Hayes has clarified the rules over Olympic roster alternates, telling media on Monday that players replaced by an alternate can return to the core 18-player group.

Hayes, the newly-appointed coach of the USWNT, said that as long as the team gives at least six hours’ notice, they can make a temporary change to the roster that may then revert back for the following game.

Earlier this month Hayes named an 18-player squad for the Paris Games with goalkeeper Jane Campbell, midfielders Hal Hershfelt and Croix Bethune and forward Lynn Williams the chosen alternates.

“First of all, I view the fact that there’s 22 players going to the Olympics and that we are to prepare every player to be able to perform if required,” Hayes said Monday.

“The reality with alternates is that if there is a temporary injury to a player on the roster within the A team, as long as we give six hours notice we’re able to make a temporary change and we can then change that for a following game.

“So from my perspective nothing changes. Maybe it gives us a little bit more flexibility. But there’s 22 players.”



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While alternates train with the team as though they might need to be available at a moment’s notice, this change means there is now not much tangible difference between having an 18- versus 22-player roster outright.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) went with the more flexible approach three years ago following COVID-19 but remarked that it was “an exception for the Tokyo 2020 Games and does not create a precedent for future Olympic Games.”

The IOC has been approached for comment.

Federations have been clamoring to extend the roster for years citing player health and safety concerns; the USWNT will play three group stage games in 11 days, and should they advance all the way to the gold-medal game, would cumulatively play six times in 17 days.

2024 U.S. Olympic women’s soccer roster

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

DEFENDERS (6): Tierna Davidson (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Fox (Arsenal), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Casey Krueger (Washington Spirit), Jenna Nighswonger (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Sonnett (NJ/NY Gotham FC)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Korbin Albert (Paris Saint-Germain), Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon), Rose Lavelle (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Catarina Macario (Chelsea)

FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave FC), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Mallory Swanson (Chicago Red Stars)

ALTERNATES (4): Jane Campbell (goalkeeper, Houston Dash), Hal Hershfelt (midfielder, Washington Spirit), Croix Bethune (midfielder, Washington Spirit), Lynn Williams (forward, NJ/NY Gotham FC)

(Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

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