Sunday 23 June 2019, 23:00

Performance coach Dawn Scott key to USA success behind the scenes

  • USA’s “secret to everything” is performance coach Dawn Scott

  • Scott is responsible for everything from hydration through to recovery

  • Says she is lucky to work with a team who “still want to get better”

Success at a FIFA Women’s World Cup™ is never just about 23 players that make up a squad, or the 11 players that walk out onto the field to do battle.

Off the field, there is an army of personnel responsible for overseeing the day-to-day logistics and care of the players looking to claim the trophy in Lyon, and there are few bigger armies than the one working with the USA.

One person who plays a vital role in ensuring players are in peak physical condition and looking after their bodies is high performance coach Dawn Scott.

Scott, who joined US Soccer from the English FA in 2010, was once described by World Cup winner Christie Pearce as “the secret to everything.”

So while in France, what exactly does her Women’s World Cup role look like?

“Players will start in the morning by filling in a wellness platform as well as doing a urine test so we can get their immediate hydration status," Scott explains. "Once we have that information, I then follow up with the players who I feel might need some hydration fluid to rehydrate.

“If a player reports any sort of soreness I then follow up with our medical team and liaise with our coaches to plan out our training for later that day.”

Plans for training sessions are then implemented depending on what stage the team is at in the tournament and how the players are feeling, with individual recovery drinks made for players dependent on their current status and how many minutes they might have played in matches.

“We have to remind players to work on their recovery and that they’re getting ready for training,” said Scott.

“In training the players will have GPS heart monitors so that we can keep track of how they are and whether we need to pull them out of training early, or whether they are meeting the targets we are setting. In one of our recent training sessions we had four different groups, with four different physical loads.”

Data from the GPS monitors that the players wear will then be downloaded and analysed later in the day, before Scott meets with her fellow coaches to give them feedback, and then the medical staff to get player updates, before planning the next day’s sessions.

The USA coach outlined that the other main role she has during the World Cup is ensuring players are recovering properly. The team has its own chef in France to ensure that players have specific meals to cater to their needs, while there is also a requirement to oversee areas such as ice tubs and pool sessions to aid muscle recovery.

With a schedule that sees teams potentially play seven games in a month – should they reach the final – there are challenges that accompany Scott’s role in France that certainly highlight how key she is to the team's setup.

One of those is managing the demands of 23 players, each with their own needs and requirements. However, the professionalism of the players, according to Scott, is what helps them have a good rapport.

“I have no issue if a player has a certain way of doing things," she said. "If they are performing and they are technically and tactically where the coaches want them, I have no issue working with them individually. Despite having some of the highest profile players in the world, they still want to get better, and sometimes I have to hold them back from doing even more.

“Sometimes at the end of training I have to be the bad cop because players want to take an extra ten minutes to practice shots on goal. Sometimes they don’t like me for that, but they see the bigger picture and that’s what’s important and makes my job easier.”


Fans interested in attending the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 can still purchase tickets for the tournament via, as well as via ticket booths located at stadia for remaining matches still available to the general public.