Emma Hayes, the manager of Chelsea Women’s team, will depart from the club after this season. Although she has not revealed her next destination, many believe she is a top contender for the open position of head coach for the USA team. The unexpected announcement was made by the club following Chelsea’s dominant 6-0 victory over Aston Villa in the WSL.
Hayes is highly respected for her impact as a manager in women’s soccer. During her 12 years with Chelsea, she has achieved unparalleled success. Since assuming the role in 2012, she is credited with revolutionizing the team’s performance and establishing a winning foundation both on and off the field.
For more than ten years, she has led her team to six victories in the WSL, five Women’s FA Cups, two Continental Cups, the Spring Series, a win in the Community Shield, and a spot in the Champions League final. She has also received individual honors, including an MBE in 2016 and an OBE in 2022. In 2021, she was named the Best Fifa women’s football coach and has been recognized as the WSL manager of the season six times. She has also expanded her career into commentary and punditry, and was awarded for her coverage of the men’s Euros for ITV in 2020.
Hayes has played a key role in guiding and fostering top-tier talent in women’s soccer. From acquiring Fran Kirby in 2015 to bringing in notable players like Sam Kerr and Pernille Harder, she has established a strong and dominant team at Chelsea that excels at achieving success on a national scale.
“According to Chelsea’s co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley, Emma has played a significant role in driving change in women’s football. Her accomplishments at Chelsea are unparalleled and will be remembered in the club’s history forever.”
“Considering her significant contributions to Chelsea during her lengthy tenure with the club, and the lasting impact she has made, we would never impede her decision to seek a new opportunity if she deemed it appropriate.”
Chelsea’s chairman, Todd Boehly, and co-owner Behdad Eghbali expressed their appreciation for Emma’s contribution to the club. They acknowledged her role as a trailblazer in women’s football and her high level of respect within the industry. They also mentioned their plans to continue collaborating in the future.
Chelsea continues their undefeated streak in the WSL, having played five games so far this season. Manager Emma Hayes and the team are determined to win their fifth consecutive title. The timing of the announcement, although unexpected with a significant portion of the season remaining, may not come as a surprise given Hayes’ personal circumstances. Last season, she underwent an emergency hysterectomy due to endometriosis and has expressed a desire for a better work-life balance to spend more time with her son, Harry. Additionally, the recent passing of her father during the early stages of this season has also affected her. With her long tenure at Chelsea, new challenges were bound to arise.
Hayes’ next move remains unclear but it is expected that an international coaching role will be a likely next step, especially with a number of high-profile roles open. Legacy is a word often thrown around in football and it is something that is intrinsically difficult to measure. However there is no doubt that the imprint Hayes has left on the women’s domestic game in England and her club Chelsea is just that. It is fitting that Hayes will be able to say goodbye on her own terms and that Chelsea and her loyal fans can bid her a proper farewell.