The U.S. Soccer Federation has appointed Emma Hayes as the 10th full-time head coach in U.S. Women’s National Team history.
Hayes, 47, the long-time head coach for Chelsea FC, one of the most successful women’s teams in Europe, started her coaching career in the United States at the dawn of the millennium and more than two decades later will take the helm of the USWNT.
“This is a huge honor to be given the opportunity to coach the most incredible team in world football history,” said Hayes. “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. 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 U.S. Soccer Federation.”
A statement from U.S. Soccer says Hayes will become the highest paid women’s football coach in the world.
Hayes will finish the 2023-24 Women’s Super League season in England and then join the U.S. team officially two months prior to the start of the 2024 Olympics. Interim head coach Twila Kilgore will continue in her role and then join Hayes’ staff full-time as an assistant coach. Crocker, Kilgore and her staff are engaged in developing a plan to work with Hayes to ensure a successful transition.
When Hayes officially joins U.S. Soccer, she will have four matches on the U.S. bench before the Olympics, two in June and two in July.
“This is a unique situation, but the team is in safe hands with Twila,” said Crocker. “Her stewardship will be crucial during this period as we are focused on success at the Olympics. Emma has endorsed Twila, she will be a key part of Emma’s staff when she arrives and moving forward, and we are excited for what’s to come with our USWNT program.”
Hayes comes to U.S. Soccer after leading the Chelsea FC Women for the last 11 seasons. Hayes was appointed as the Blues manager in August of 2012 and has won six Women’s Super League titles, one WSL Spring Series title, five Women’s FA Cups and two FA Women’s League Cups. In addition, Chelsea made the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final in 2021. Hayes was named The Best FIFA Women’s Coach of the Year for 2021 and is a finalist for the award in 2023.
Hayes has led the club to five WSL and Cup doubles, winning the league and the FA Cup four times and the league and the League Cup once. Chelsea won the treble in 2020-2021, taking the WSL, FA Cup and League Cup trophies.
Hayes’ first Women’s FA Cup title with Chelsea came during the 2014-2015 season, and the club followed it with the Women’s Super League title to complete a historic and memorable double. She was the only female manager in the league at that time. Hayes led Chelsea to a second domestic double of FA Cup and WSL titles in 2017-2018 season and reached the semifinal of the Champions League for a second time.
In 2019-2020, the Blues won the WSL title and the League Cup and then successfully defended both trophies the next season while also reaching their first Champions League Final. Those successes resulted in Hayes being named WSL Manager of the Season in consecutive campaigns, and she was also honored with The Best FIFA Women’s Coach Award in 2021. The triumphs of the 2021-2022 WSL season made Hayes the first coach to guide a team to three consecutive WSL titles. Last season – 2022-2023 – marked yet another double as Chelsea won the League and FA Cups.
Hayes’ previous stint in the USA
Hayes, who grew up in London and went to university in Liverpool, came to the USA in 2001. She coached at the youth levels – working with players as young as Under-8s – with numerous clubs in the Long Island area, coached in the New York Olympic Development Program and was a member of the Region I staff. Her first head coaching job was with the Long Island Lady Riders in the USL W-League from 2001-2003. She was the youngest female head coach in the league and was named W-League Coach of the year in 2002. From 2003 onward, she has been a consistent presenter at the annual convention for the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, now United Soccer Coaches.
After the Lady Riders, Hayes coached Division I college soccer at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York for four years where she led the Gaels to two conference championships and earned another coach of the year honor before returning to the UK where she became an assistant coach for Arsenal FC, the trailblazing club for women’s pro soccer in the UK, and the Academy Director for Arsenal Ladies.
During her time in North London, the Gunners achieved unprecedented success, winning 11 major trophies during a three-season spell, including three titles in the Women’s Premier League (the precursor to the WSL), three FA Women’s Cups and the UEFA Women’s Cup crown (the precursor to the UEFA Women’s Champions League). Her role in the Arsenal backroom staff was combined with her position as Academy Director where she oversaw the development of young players at the club, many of whom currently play in the Women’s Super League.
Hayes returned to the United States in 2008 and coached the Chicago Red Stars during the start of Women’s Professional Soccer, the second iteration of a pro league in the United States. Before her first WPS season, with the second overall pick in the league’s inaugural draft, she chose a young attacking player from the University of Portland named Megan Rapinoe. She also had stints working as a coaching consultant for the Washington Freedom and as the technical director at the New York Flash, which won the WPS title in 2011 with a team she helped assemble. She returned to England in 2011 and was eventually named head coach at Chelsea, where she has coached numerous national team players from more than 25 different countries.
“I understand how important this team is to the people and culture of the United States, not just the soccer community,” said Hayes. “I fully understand the place this team has in U.S. society. I’ve lived it. I remember being a young coach working my way up through the system in the U.S. and watching all those young girls aspire to play on the U.S. Women’s National Team. For me, the honor in building on that legacy is part of my motivation, no question.”
Hayes was rewarded with an OBE – Order of the British Empire – in 2022 on the New Year’s honors list for services to soccer in the UK. Hayes was named an MBE – Member of the Order of the British Empire – on the Queen’s 90th birthday honors list in June of 2016 and was presented with it the following December. She was inducted into the Women’s Super League Hall of Fame in 2021.
Hayes is the second England-born coach to head the U.S. Women’s National Team, after Jill Ellis, who spent the entirety of her coaching career in the United States. Hayes is also the fourth full-time female head coach in USWNT history. She holds a UEFA Pro License.
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