Sunday, May 18, 2008
New Chicago WPS Head Coach Emma Hayes completed her whirlwind extended weekend in Chicago today with a return flight to London.
In a little more than three days, we introduced her to as many of the team's stakeholders as possible.
Thursday was her busiest day:
In the morning she was introduced in person to the Chicago media. In the afternoon she was introduced via conference call to national and international media then joined our Managers Meeting for players discussion. Following the Managers Meeting, she joined Marcia McDermott, Greg Zaskowski and me for a meeting with the operators of the Max McCook indoor facility. We're considering the nearly full sized facility for indoor training when the elements drive us inside.
Friday was a longer, though less stressful day. Emma spent the bulk of the day in our temporary downtown offices meeting with Marcia and others regarding set up of scouting and networking systems. Friday night she joined Marcia, Greg, Amber Simons, Alyse LaHue and me in Algonquin to meet socially with a group of a dozen or so youth soccer directors of coaching and high school coaches including Brian Elia, Cori and Rob Eastland (Johnsburg White Lightning), Brad Wellmen (Cary Soccer Assoc.), Jim Dzialo (Jacobs H.S.), Caulbert Smith (Dundee United), Scott Jackman (Campton United), Orhan (Soccer Heads) and several others.
Emma spent Saturday morning apartment hunting and successfully bagged a unit in the city. She headed out to Toyota Park in the afternoon where she participated in the Chicago WPS Advisory Board meeting. There she was able to meet and exchange ideas with representatives from IWSL (Flo and Charlie Dyson), IYSA (Mary Jane Bender), ISSA (Judith McLean), Section 8 (Ben Burton), adult social soccer leagues via Windy City Wanderer's (Matt Rosine), soccer media (Kathryn Knapp, Tom Dunmore), W-League (FC Indiana's Anton Maksimov, Chicago Gaels' Mark Boyle), Toyota Park (Dan Garnett), Chicago Fire (Javier Leon), corporate community (Mark Kaufman), college soccer (Danielle Slaton, Rob Lepley), youth soccer parents (Tom Stutesman, Lisa Buczkowski), FireWorks For Kids Foundation and local Hispanic soccer (Bob Armendariz) and Chicago WPS owners (Susan Morrison, Arnim Whisler, Gary Weaver).
Afterwards, Emma ventured out to the Toyota Park parking lots meeting Fire fans at tailgates before heading inside for the Fire game against Houston. She spent the game's first half (when it was relatively dry outside) inside our suite with team owners, FC Indiana players and execs and players from the Windy City Rollers ( Belle Diablo, Tori Adore and Malice with Chains). Belle, Tori and Malice came to the game to discuss cross promotion ideas with us. After discovering my affection for Pabst and pirates, Malice gave me my very own derby name: "P.B.RRRRRRRRRR."
After chatting it up in the suite at halftime with Javier Leon, Emma and Marcia headed outdoors to take in the last 45 minutes in Section 8. They were suitably impressed by the failure of the downpour to drown Section 8's spirit.
Emma's back in London now to complete her obligations to Arsenal and await her visa clearance, before moving here full time in mid-June.
After the taste of Chicago hospitality she received the last several days, Emma's anxious to return.