Next USWNT coach Hayes recites poem in response to critics

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes deflected questions and criticism over her comments towards Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall after the Conti Cup last month, instead opting to recite a Robert Frost poem and detail an interaction with her son.

In the aftermath of the final, Hayes accused Eidevall of “male aggression” after an altercation with Chelsea midfielder Erin Cuthbert and said Eidevall fronted up to players — an action she deemed “unacceptable.” Hayes, who will take over as coach of the U.S. women’s national team at the end Chelsea’s season, also shoved the Swedish manager after the final whistle when he approached her to shake hands.

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In a news conference on Friday ahead of her side’s FA Cup semifinal against Manchester United, Hayes said: “My son said to me after the game, ‘mummy when you push someone in school, you’re asked to go and take time out’ and I said to him, ‘you know, darling, you can’t meet aggression with aggression’,” Hayes said.

“All you can do is tell the teacher. All you can do is go and explain to the teacher why you think something’s unfair. I said, even if the players go to the teacher, even if the parents go to the teacher, that’s all you can do.

“You cannot meet aggression with aggression, and I thought it was a really good conversation to have with my son after the final.”

When reflecting on whether she would change her comments now after receiving hefty criticism for her choice of words, Hayes recited Robert Frost’s 1943 poem, ‘Choose Something like a Star.’

“So when at times, the mob is swayed, to carry praise or blame too far, we may choose somewhere like a star to stay our minds on and be staid,” she said, quoting a line from the poem.

When asked to elaborate on the meaning, she added: “I’ve had a fantastic break. I’ve already explained an important analogy that I shared with my son. and the lessons learned from it. My focus is on moving forward, and I’ve had time to look at my star.”

Eidevall had branded Hayes’ conduct after the Conti Cup final as “irresponsible” in a news conference earlier on Friday.

“I thought the comments that I heard after the game were very irresponsible and they were not mirroring the conduct that I had in the technical area. That I thought was irresponsible,” he said.

When Eidevall’s remarks were put to Hayes, she said: “I don’t have an opinion.”

“I said everything I need to and done the reflections that are important. I think we need to focus on the game on the weekend. That’s the important talking point, and we need to move past that.

“Of course, it’s not right to meet aggression with aggression. I can only control my own behaviours, and I’ve reflected on that.

“Next time, I just need to listen to my son’s advice and I need to go with the teacher if I’ve got anything to say.”