Emma Hayes set up USWNT meeting with Deion Sanders: ‘He is someone I really admire’

Emma Hayes has had a busy couple of weeks since arriving in the United States.

In the middle of a whirlwind media tour, as she was thrown headfirst into her first training camp with the U.S. women’s national team, the new head coach recognized another coaching and NFL great: Deion Sanders.

Hayes and Sanders met on Wednesday, while Hayes and the U.S. were in Colorado for the national team’s first of two international friendlies against South Korea. And, it turns out, their meeting was all Hayes’ idea.

In a pre-match interview on TNT Sports, Hayes admitted to broadcasters that she is a big fan of the current head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes.

“The girls (on the USWNT team) asked me afterward, ‘Did you know who he who he was?’ And I said, ‘I was the one who set it up,’” Hayes said. “He is someone I really admire.”

Hayes joked that although she doesn’t have the same “charisma” Sanders is known for on social media, the two hit it off when they met. She described the Pro Football Hall of Famer as someone who “just resonates such warmth and generosity.”

“We just had a really lovely conversation about looking after human beings and doing the things we love the most, and I was fangirling. I’ve got to be honest,” Hayes said.

Hayes recently concluded her tenure as the longtime head coach of Chelsea Women in the Women’s Super League, where she developed a reputation as one of the leading voices for women’s football in England as well as one of the game’s most successful. Saturday marks the first time the U.S. plays under Hayes’ new management, as the senior team prepares for this summer’s Paris Olympic games.

Since arriving in the U.S., Hayes has been busy meeting with some of the biggest stars in American sports, as well as Holywood.

“I’ve met Chris Pratt and Coach Prime in the space of three days,” Hayes joked to the broadcasters in the pregame broadcast on Saturday.

To that, USWNT icon Julie Foudy and current broadcaster quipped: “That’s how we roll here.”

(Photo: Brad Smith/Getty Images for USSF)

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