Emma Hayes has been confirmed as head coach of the United States women’s national team.
The 47-year-old will remain in charge of Chelsea until the end of the 2023/24 season before taking up the reins stateside, where she replaces Vlatko Andonovski, who left his role as USWNT boss in the aftermath of a poor 2023 Women’s World Cup for the team.
Hayes has been in charge at Chelsea since 2012 and has enjoyed unprecedented success with the club. The Blues have won six WSL titles under her management, including the last four on offer, and have lifted the Women’s FA Cup five times – last season’s 1-0 win over Manchester United at Wembley making it back-to-back-to-back successes.
She was also named the Best FIFA Football Coach in 2021, was inducted into the Women’s Super League Hall of Fame in the same year, and has been recognised for her achievements with both an OBE and MBE.
Hayes will now take on arguably the biggest job in women’s football, tasked with returning the USWNT to the top of the international game after a desperately disappointing 2023 World Cup saw The Stars and Stripes eliminated in the last 16 – their worst-ever performance at the tournament.
“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.
“I understand how important this team is to the people and culture of the United States, not just the soccer community,” she continued. “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 previously revealed how difficult it had been deciding to leave Chelsea for pastures new, particularly when it came to the telling players.
“I felt like I was abandoning my family. So, of course, my initial thoughts in these last few days were sadness but also pride,” she said. “It’s very unusual for a manager to be in one place the length of time I have. It’s more normal for the players to maybe change a little more often and probably most managers for that reason.
“Now I just feel so much pride for the club I represent, the team I represent, and I want to do everything possible to make sure we continue with the good work that’s been done in my time here.”
Gemma Davison, who is currently on the coaching staff at Chelsea and played for three years under Hayes, is confident that she’ll enjoy great success in the United States.
The 36-year-old picked up three pieces of silverware at Chelsea before transitioning into a coaching role at the conclusion of her career, and doesn’t doubt that Hayes’ personality and drive to succeed will stand her in good stead.
“It’s a good challenge for her. It’s international football, something she hasn’t gotten her hands on yet,” Davison told 90min. “Knowing Emma she’s very well prepared. She’s the most front footed person I’ve ever met. She’s always a step ahead of everyone else – never settles, never wants to be comfortable. Her beliefs are if it’s not broken, break it. She always likes to go against what everyone thinks and I think that’s why she’s had such a successful career.
“She’s a risk taker and we all know that’s a tough job to take. She’s a grafter. She’s from a family background that grafts and like I said, break everything, break everything, rebuild it and when it’s built well, how can we build again? I think the trophy cabinet says enough. I think her rapport with players, I mean, as a former player of Emma’s there’s times where you don’t like her but you know you’re going to have a medal around your neck and you just can’t complain with that.
“She builds relationships with people, people that want to work with her for life.So I think wherever she goes, she’s going to have success.”