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Emma Hayes Sets a New Standard as USWNT Head Coach

Last Updated: November 16, 2023
The current Chelsea boss will lead the women’s team. Her hiring spotlights the women’s club’s ongoing quest for pay equality.

Following the U.S. Women’s National Team‘s disappointing exit in the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup in August, U.S. Soccer reportedly made Chelsea head coach Emma Hayes the highest-paid coach in women’s soccer with a $1.6 million per year in base salary.

That figure, per ESPN, is the same as U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter and more than triple the next highest-paid women’s national team coach, England’s Sarina Wiegman. The 47-year-old, London-born Hayes will replace Vlatko Andonovski, who led the USWNT to its worst-ever World Cup finish in Australia and New Zealand.

While several names garnered attention as possible replacements, including Australia’s women’s coach Tony Gustavsson and OL Reign’s Laura Harvey, rumors of Hayes’ imminent hiring emerged over the weekend.

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Since taking over Chelsea’s women’s team in 2012, Hayes has become one of the most decorated managers in club soccer.

Under her leadership, the Blues won six English Women’s Super League titles, the country’s first division, five FA Cups, and two Leagues Cups. She’s won six WSL Coach of the Year honors, including the last three. Hayes will stay on with Chelsea for the remainder of the 2023-2024 season before returning Stateside.

Hayes spent six years in New York from 2001-2006. There, she managed the Long Island Lady Riders and Iona University before taking an assistant coaching position in London with Arsenal. She took on a pair of technical roles for Women’s professional soccer teams after a 26-game coaching stint with the Washington Spirit before landing the Chelsea role shortly after the 2012 London Olympics.

Hayes has thrived from that point forward and more than earned equal pay in the U.S. Soccer coaching ranks. She will become the 10th full-time head coach in the USWNT’s storied history. Assistant Twila Kilgore will likely lead the national team on an interim basis. The team has a pair of friendly matches scheduled against China on Dec. 2 and 5.

Hayes’ first challenge will come in the form of the 2024 Summer Olympics, where the USWNT will look to reclaim its global glory with a talented young squad.

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About The Author
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung is a Senior Staff Writer at Boardroom. He has more than a decade of experience in journalism, with past work appearing in Forbes, MLB.com, Awful Announcing, and The Sporting News. He graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2011, and his Twitter and Spotify addictions are well under control. Just ask him.