Vera Pauw is bracing herself for a storm of controversy when she returns to the United States for two April friendlies with her Ireland women’s team.
owever, the Ireland manager has stressed that the football on the field will take priority over the fierce football arguments away from the action – and she has vowed to wave to the crowd if people boo her.
“There were people asking me, ‘Do you dare to go back?’ and I am thinking, ‘Do I dare?’ but it is not about me, it’s about the players, they need to prepare for the World Cup,” said Pauw, who was sanctioned by US soccer authorities after allegations of weight-shaming during her stint with Houston Dash.
That club is in the same Texas state as one of the two games against the world champions and, with Pauw engaging legal action to challenge the findings, there is sure to be a media frenzy upon her arrival.
“They need to get the best preparation that they can get. We get this on a plate and I would say no because of me? No, I need to go through it,” she said.
“There will probably be nastiness because there are probably people who want to prove themselves because they have been reading what is being said around it by the people who know me. But I will be ready for it. I will repeat what I have to say when they ask me. I will get that on my shoulders, I will be strong. I 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. We are there to prepare for the World Cup. It is not about me, it is about the players.”