It was confirmed yesterday (Tuesday, 14 November) that Emma Hayes will officially take on the role of head coach for the U.S. women’s national team (USWNT). The 47-year-old coach from England will be concluding her tenure as Chelsea's head coach at the end of the Women’s Super League season in May 2024 before joining the USWNT two months before the 2024 Paris Olympics.
This announcement coincided with reports connecting Hayes to the USWNT opening following Vlatko Andonovksi's departure in August. Interim head coach Twila Kilgore will continue in her role and then join Hayes’ staff full-time as an assistant coach.
Hayes, with a remarkable stint at Chelsea since 2012, winning numerous titles - including six league titles, five FA Cups, two FA League Cups, and one Community Shield - emerged as the prime choice for the USWNT. Despite Chelsea's efforts to retain her, the U.S. offer, reportedly matching men’s coach Gregg Berhalter's $1.6 million annual salary, proved decisive.
Emma Hayes is a force to be reckoned with 🤩🏆 pic.twitter.com/4O37r4u4fY
— Sky Sports WSL (@SkySportsWSL) November 14, 2023
According to Just Women's Sports, Hayes stated: “This is a huge honor to be given the opportunity to coach the most incredible team in world football history. The feelings and connection I have for this team and for this country run deep. I’ve dreamed about coaching the USA for a long time, so to get this opportunity is a dream come true.”
Under Hayes leadership, Chelsea currently leads the WSL table with 16 points in six matches this season. Notably, her roster includes promising USWNT stars Catarina Macario and Mia Fishel.
— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) November 14, 2023
Hayes is no stranger to the U.S. soccer landscape, having worked in the Women’s Professional Soccer league before joining Chelsea. Her impending appointment received much applause from figures in women’s soccer worldwide. England's head coach Sarina Wiegman termed it “good for the women’s game,” while USWNT star Carli Lloyd expressed being “excited.” According to USWNT midfielder Kristie Mewis, Hayes is “exactly what we need,” a sentiment echoed by forward Tobin Heath, who called it a “no-brainer.”
The positive reception follows Hayes’ critique of the U.S. program after the 2023 World Cup exit, as Hayes told The Telegraph: “The realities are, it is going to be very, very difficult for the US to climb back to the top. I’m not saying they won’t, with hard work and the right conversations around their model. They will have to respond to this World Cup.”