Megan Rapinoe of the U.S. and teammates look dejected as the United States are knocked out of the World Cup REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/File photo
(Reuters) - The U.S. women's soccer team was not fully prepared heading into the World Cup, co-captain Lindsey Horan said, after the four-time champions produced their worst-ever performance at the tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
The U.S. exited in the round of 16 after suffering a shock 5-4 shootout defeat by Sweden. Days later, coach Vlatko Andonovski, who took the reins in 2019, stepped down.
Speaking to former team mates Tobin Heath and Christen Press on YouTube channel RE-INC, midfielder Horan said that when a new coach comes in, it is crucial to make the most of the limited opportunities they have to train together.
"When a coach comes in, it's like, hey, how do we get the best out of every single individual player putting the most simplicity into a 10-day camp every few months and getting the best out of your team, and without overcomplicating everything?," Horan said.
"Because yes, I could talk about the last four-year cycle, and we don’t need to get into every single thing, but that's not what we did. We did not get the best out of every single individual.
"I don't think everyone was fully prepared, and that's on us as well."
Horan, 29, said the team did not look relaxed during the tournament, where they finished second in their group behind the Netherlands.
"Looking at those three group stage games, and you felt it in the team," she added. "You felt this tense feeling, and people were just not enjoying their football or they weren't enjoying individually playing."
The U.S. will host South Africa in back-to-back friendlies on Sept. 21 in Cincinnati and Sept. 24 in Chicago.