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Emma Hayes ‘looking forward’ to USWNT challenge after 20 years in club football

Emma Hayes says she is “looking forward” to adapting to the challenges of international management as she prepares to take the USWNT head coach role following over 20 years in club management.

Hayes announced in November she would be departing Chelsea at the end of the 2023-24 season after 12 years in charge. Her appointment as U.S. head coach was confirmed later that month.

The 47-year-old has established Chelsea as a major force in the women’s game, winning 13 major trophies. She takes over a U.S. side that suffered its earliest World Cup exit at last summer’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand, where they lost to Sweden in the Round of 16.

“The whole thing’s a huge challenge,” Hayes told the Football Writers’ Association. “While we don’t have the game accumulation like I face as a club manager, the challenge of all the things the job involves, I’m looking forward to. It’s a lot less hands-on with players but it means I’ll develop another side to myself and I’ll have to work with a team off the pitch as well in a much different way to prepare for major tournaments.

“I’m so excited to go to an Olympics and a World Cup. (It’s) what dreams are made of to think I’m in a position where I can leave a team out at the Paris Olympics and a World Cup in three years. Happy days.”

Hayes has become renowned for speaking honestly and candidly on societal issues during her 12 years at Chelsea. In December, she cut through with her comments on the “systemic misogyny and bullying” women in football deal with in the wake of online abuse targeting women working in the game.

Hayes credits her late father with encouraging her to “drive the narrative” despite concerns of criticism.

“He was adamant I was going to be the one that was going to drive the narrative and he encouraged me to be brave and put my neck on the line,” she added. “He’d say to me: ‘You make sure when you’re doing the press today girl, you make the point about this and that. You make sure you do it’.

“And I’d say: ‘Dad, I’m going to get slaughtered for it’.

“And he’d say: ‘It doesn’t matter. Don’t look at it. Walk forward and the sport will be in a better place for the work you do’.”

(Harriet Lander – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)



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