Chelsea women’s coach Emma Hayes has been confirmed as the new head coach of the U.S. women’s national team with a contract through 2027, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced Tuesday.
US Soccer said in its announcement that Hayes will become the highest-paid women’s soccer coach in the world.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (USA)
A source with knowledge of the deal confirmed to ESPN that her salary will be “close, if not equal” to that of U.S. men’s national team manager Gregg Berhalter, who makes $1.6 million. Bonuses will have an impact on what both managers will ultimately earn.
The source stressed that Hayes’ salary reflected what was needed to lure her away from Chelsea, rather than a commitment to equal pay.
“It is a great honor to coach the most incredible team in the history of world football,” said Hayes.
“The feelings and connection I have for this team and this country are deep. I have dreamed of coaching the USA for a long time and getting this opportunity is a dream come true. I know there is still a lot to do to achieve our goal.” The goal is to win consistently at the highest level. Achieving this goal will require dedication, commitment and collaboration from the players, staff and everyone at the U.S. Soccer Federation.”
The confirmation comes after Chelsea announced this month that Hayes would leave the club at the end of the Women’s Super League (WSL) season “to pursue a new opportunity outside of the WSL and club football”.
Hayes will officially begin her tenure as USWNT manager at the end of the Chelsea season in May. She will then play four games – two in June and two in July – to prepare the USWNT for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. In the meantime, Twila Kilgore will continue in her role as interim manager and eventually join Hayes’ team as a full-time assistant.
The USWNT has been coached by Kilgore on an interim basis since Vlatko Andonovski left after the team suffered its earliest exit from the Women’s World Cup with a round of 16 loss to Sweden this summer.
“Emma is a fantastic leader and world-class coach who sets high standards for herself and everyone around her,” said U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone. “She has enormous energy and an insatiable will to win.
“Her experience in the United States, her understanding of our soccer landscape and her understanding of what it means to coach this team make her the perfect fit for this role and we couldn’t be happier to have her leading our women’s national team forward. “
The timeline by which Hayes will assume some of her USWNT duties remains uncertain. A source familiar with the situation said discussions are ongoing between US Soccer and Chelsea about how much contact Hayes will have with the USSF hierarchy and USWNT staff over the next six months.
It is expected that there will be discussions regarding rosters and the general state of the player pool.
US Soccer insists the hiring is made with the program’s long-term future in mind and the chance to hire Hayes now is worth the six-month delay until she takes on the full-time position.
In addition to the Olympic Games, there is also the Concacaf W Gold Cup, which is scheduled to take place from February 20th to March 10th next year. While the tournament largely falls in an international window, Chelsea has league games against Manchester City on February 18th and Leicester City on March 3rd.
“This is a unique situation, but the team is in safe hands at Twila,” said US Soccer athletic director Matt Crocker. “Your leadership will be critical during this time as we focus on success at the Olympics.”
“Emma has supported Twila, she will be an important part of Emma’s staff as she arrives and moves on, and we are excited for what is to come with our USWNT program.”
Crocker led the hiring process. Sources told ESPN that OL Reign manager Laura Harvey, Juventus manager Joe Montemurro and Australia manager Tony Gustavsson were among the finalists.
“After narrowing down the list of candidates, we had a group of outstanding coaches and leaders to consider, but we firmly believed that Emma was the best person and coach to advance the U.S. Women’s National Team,” Crocker said.
“Her passion for the game, her talent as a coach, her ability to motivate players and staff, her commitment to developing as a coach and her qualities as a person are all incredibly impressive. She greatly values the legacy of this program and embraces the great challenges that lie ahead.”
Recruiting Hayes is a coup for U.S. Soccer. She is widely regarded as one of the top managers in women’s football.
The London native began her managerial career in 2001 with the Long Island Lady Riders of the US-based USL W-League. She later coached as a college coach at Iona College from 2003 to 2006 and then moved to the Arsenal Ladies professional team as an assistant from 2006 to 2008.
Her first head coaching role was with the Chicago Red Stars in Women’s Professional Soccer – the precursor to the NWSL – from 2008 to 2010, before moving to Chelsea in 2012, where she has worked ever since.
During her time with the Blues, Hayes led Chelsea to six WSL titles, five Women’s FA Cups and two FA Women’s League Cups.
At an individual level, she has been named FA WSL Manager of the Season six times and League Managers Association Manager of the Year five times. She was named the best female football coach by FIFA in 2021.