In the contemporary landscape of women's football, the highly esteemed coach and current manager of Chelsea Women's FC, Emma Hayes, has been formally announced as the new Head Coach for the USA Women's National Football Team. This significant appointment follows her impending departure from Chelsea WFC at the end of the current season. The implications of this decision resonate on a global scale. Let's talk it through...
Emma Hayes' transition is set up to be a catalyst for U.S. Soccer. Hayes brings an extensive wealth of experience and success from the Barclays Women's Super League (WSL), a league widely considered as the best in the world. Her record at Chelsea, boasting six WSL titles, five FA Cup victories, and two Conti Cup triumphs, positions her as a leader capable of elevating the US team to unprecedented heights. It is noteworthy, however, that her trophy cabinet does not yet include the UEFA Women's Champions League, one that Emma may well be out to get in the future.
The decision to pursue international management underscores the strategic foresight of Emma Hayes. While speculation surrounded the possibility of her transition to men's football, the importance of retaining the best coaches in women's football for the continued growth of the women's game is so important. A potential shift to men's football, as perceived by some, would have represented a substantial loss for women's sport. Hayes' dedication to raising the standards of women's football globally is a cause for celebration.
As Emma Hayes' new appointment unfolds, it is imperative to acknowledge the void her departure will leave in the WSL. Acknowledged globally as one of the best coaches in the world, her move presents an opportunity for other teams to rise to the top, fostering a more competitive league in the 2024/25 season. The task of filling the significant void left by Hayes demands a coach with great expertise and the ability to uphold the established standards. She leaves big shoes to fill and a mountain challenge for any manager to tackle.
During the announcement, Emma Hayes expressed that coaching the US National Team had always been her dream. Despite the longstanding recognition of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) as the best league in the world, the burgeoning growth of the WSL has led some to reconsider its status. However, it is likely that Hayes' will contribute to the growth of the NWSL as well as the success of the National Team. Could we see USA take back the rights to calling themselves as the best domestic league in the world of women's football again?
As a last comment, the revelation that Emma Hayes will receive a salary equivalent to the Head Coach of the USA Men's National Team prompts contemplation. While the principle of equal pay is commendable (and what the whole world is aiming towards), the notable achievements of the USA women's national team, surpass those of their male counterparts. For me, this is the catalyst of a broader debate surrounding the need to pay salaries based on performance, commercial value and revenue, and not on 'doing the right thing'. In an ideal world, Emma Hayes' salary should exceed that of Gregg Berhalter (US Men's Head Soccer Coach). But let's celebrate the equal pay statement for now.
Emma Hayes' appointment as the Head Coach of the USA Women's National Soccer Team represents a pivotal moment in the growth of women's football. It's an exciting move and I wish Emma Hayes all the best out there! We'll be keeping a keen eye on how she settles in to life as an International Head Coach.