THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND WOMEN'S HEAD COACH Vera Pauw has claimed that she will take the all the heat when Ireland faces the United States in their double-header this April.
This week, the FAI (Football Association of Ireland) announced that Ireland would face the US in America twice ahead of this summer's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Ireland will play the friendlies in Texas and Missouri this April
The US are the number one ranked side in women's football and will provide a stern test for Ireland, who are 23rd in the list.
However, the game will also throw up other challenges for Ireland's Pauw.
Pauw coached Houston Dash, a professional women's soccer team in America in 2018, but left in 2019 to join the Irish team.
See you soon, @USWNT 😉
April 8th - Austin, TX
April 11th - St. Louis, MO#COYGIG pic.twitter.com/Y84jOgligo
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) February 23, 2023
Last year the Dutchwoman was one of the six coaches recently sanctioned by the National Women’s Soccer League for incidents arising during her time as head coach of the team.
Because of Pauw being accused of weight-shaming players and attempting to exert excessive control over their eating habits, the NWSL (National Women s Soccer League) has laid out conditions for any future employment under their jurisdiction.
When asked about the possibility of returning to the US, the former Houston Dash coach said, “There were people asking me ‘do you dare to go back?’"
“I am thinking ‘do I dare?’ but it is not about me, it’s about the players. They need the best preparation that they can get for the World Cup.
“We get this on a plate, and I would say no because of me? No, I need to go through it."
Ireland's head coach has also said she will fight hostility with friendly fire when the sides meet for the double header in April.
“There will probably be nastiness because there are people who want to prove themselves because they have been reading what is being said around it.
“I will be strong – get that on my shoulders – and will be ready for it. We come there to play football, and nothing else.
“I will be there with full energy, full capacity for the players.
“If you prepare yourself for that you can do anything. If the crowd is going to boo or whatever, I will wave to them.”
Pauw has also admitted the two friendlies were the American's idea, and that the game should be about football and nothing else this coming April.
"It came from them to us; I had no role in it. And that they want us at that moment is a huge compliment and it is a huge compliment to US Soccer and to the head coach Vlatko
"We are there to prepare for the World Cup.
"Vlatko knows me, he knows who I am, he knows that this is not me, what has been written.
"It is a statement by them, but I don't know, I have not spoken with them. The fact that they say the same thing, we want Ireland, we want that team to be part of our preparation, should we not do it because a few players wrote something.
"We come there to play football, and nothing else. I will be there with full energy, full capacity for the players.
"If you prepare yourself for that you can do anything. If the crowd is going to boo or whatever, I will wave to them. We are there to prepare for the World Cup."
Broadcast details for the game will be announced in due course.
🗣"It is about the 20th of July."
Vera Pauw gives her reaction to Ireland's next World Cup warmups against the USWNT.
🗣"We need to learn to play under the highest pressure that the USA will give us."
Football with @SkyIreland #OUTBELIEVE pic.twitter.com/Lx5XjTUNQz
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) February 23, 2023
USA v Republic of Ireland
Saturday, April 8
KO 19:30 (Irish Time) / 13:30 (CT), 14:30 (ET)
Q2 Stadium, Austin, Texas
USA v Republic of Ireland
Tuesday, April 11
KO 00:30 (Irish Time) / 18:30 (CT), 19:30 (ET)
CITYPARK, St Louis, Missouri