US Soccer names Emma Hayes as coach of women’s national team, saying she signed record contract

Chelsea FC women’s manager Emma Hayes has been named head coach of the US Women’s National Team, the US Soccer Federation announced on Tuesday.

Hayes has been a huge success while leading the Blues for the past 11 seasons. She was named 2021’s Best FIFA Women’s Coach and is a finalist for the 2023 award.

In the announcement of her impending move, Hayes on Tuesday called it a “huge honor” to lead “the most incredible team in world football history,” according to a US Soccer news release.

The 47-year-old replaces Vlatko Andonovski, who stepped down in August after the US lost a dramatic penalty shootout to Sweden in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup round-of-16, ending the dream of an unprecedented three-peat.

US Soccer, which reached an equal pay deal with female players in May 2022, said, without offering specifics, that Hayes’ contract makes her the highest paid women’s soccer coach in the world. CNN has sought comment from US Soccer about the details of Hayes’ deal.

“We felt strongly that Emma was the best person and coach to take the US Women’s National Team forward,” US Soccer Sporting Director Matt Crocker said. “Her passion for the game, her coaching acumen, her ability to galvanize players and staff, her dedication to continue to evolve as a coach and her qualities as a person are all incredibly impressive.”

Hayes will remain with Chelsea until their season ends next spring. Interim head coach Twila Kilgore is expected to continue as the USWNT manager and join Hayes’ staff as an assistant, US Soccer said.

Hayes’ resume is full of triumphs from managing the Women’s Super League club Chelsea – six FA WSL championships, five Women’s FA Cups and two FA Women’s League Cups since her August 2012 arrival.

“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,” Hayes said.

“I know there is work to do to achieve our goals of winning consistently at the highest levels. To get there, it will require dedication, devotion and collaboration from the players, staff and everyone at the US Soccer Federation.”

This won’t be the English woman’s first foray into coaching in the US. Hayes managed in the W-League, at Iona College, and in the Women’s Professional Soccer league.

“I fully understand the place this team has in US
society. I’ve lived it,” she said. “I remember being a young coach working my way up through the system in the US and watching all those young girls aspire to play on the US Women’s National Team.

“For me, the honor in building on that legacy is part of my motivation, no question.”

The USWNT, a four-time World Cup winner, failed to reach at least the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in its history.

US Soccer expects Hayes to officially join the team two months before the beginning of the 2024 Olympics in Paris. She plans to coach four warm-up matches with the USWNT before the Summer Games.

The women’s Olympic soccer tournament, which the US has won four times, begins July 25.

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