Chelsea manager Emma Hayes to take over as United States head coach at end of the season

News Desk
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes before a match.
Emma Hayes before a match.

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes will become head coach of the United States women’s team at the end of the season, it has been confirmed.

Hayes will finish the 2023-24 Women’s Super League campaign with the Blues before she joins her new team two months before the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

Interim head coach Twila Kilgore will continue in her role and then join Hayes’ staff as an assistant coach.

“This is a huge honour to be given the opportunity to coach the most incredible team in world football history,” Hayes said.

“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.

The news comes after Chelsea announced 10 days ago that Hayes, who has guided them to a glut of silverware during more than a decade in charge, was to depart at the conclusion of the current campaign “to pursue a new opportunity outside of the Women’s Super League and club football.”

She told a press conference before Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat of Everton: “The time is right. I will work with the club and do everything I can to make sure there is as good a transition as possible so my successor can have as much as success as I have.”

Hayes, 47, had been strongly linked with the United States job, a position vacated by Vlatko Andonovski in August after he oversaw a last-16 exit at the summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

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Hayes, who got the Chelsea job in the summer of 2012, led the club to six WSL titles, five FA Cups and two League Cups, a haul featuring two league and FA Cup doubles and one domestic treble, while they were Champions League runners-up in 2021.

She is a six-time WSL manager of the season and was named FIFA’s women’s manager of the year in 2021.

Hayes’ side currently top the table as they look to claim the title for a fifth successive campaign.

The Blues’ bid for their first Champions League trophy continues on Wednesday away at Real Madrid in Group D.

Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s opening fixture against Madrid, Hayes told a press conference: “It would be a fairytale to win it, of course. But I didn’t grow up liking fairytales – my sister did.

“I would love nothing more than to be in a winning position with this team.”

And Hayes, who highlighted the threat of left-back Olga Carmona, believes the experience of playing Wednesday’s opponents has helped her side’s preparations.

She added: “We have analysed last season’s match and Real Madrid’s other matches, including this weekend’s match (7-1 win v Real Sociedad). We know what to expect.

“I think having been here helps, it’s something familiar, but we don’t underestimate them.

“They have many qualities, but I think they have the best on the extremes. The ability to go upwards, especially on the left with Olga.

“They have players looking for the back and putting balls into the area and they are very good in transition.”

Chelsea captain Millie Bright admitted the news of Hayes’ departure is “devastating”.

She said: “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind. I was devastated.

“She is a mentor, a coach, a friend, life coach – it’s more than football playing under her. It is the hard part of football. I feel privileged to have played under her for so long.”

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