‘I needed this’ – Emma Hayes opens up on USWNT move as ex-Chelsea boss begins new era

USWNT head coach Emma Hayes has opened up on her Chelsea exit and explained why a new chapter in the United States is exactly what she needs.

Hayes had been in charge of the London club for 12 years, having first taken up post back in 2012. Over more than a decade, she went on to win seven Women’s Super League titles, five FA Cups and two Continental Tyres League Cups.

She is one of the most decorated managers in the game but shocked the world of women’s football when she announced in November last year that the 2023/24 season would be her last at Chelsea. Weeks later, it was confirmed Hayes would be moving across the pond to take charge of the USWNT.

Leaving the most dominant force in the WSL was inconceivable to most, but for Hayes, it was a move she desperately needed to make. At the time of the announcement, she cited the need to spend more time with her young family as a driving factor behind her decision to step away.

After formally beginning her new role last week, Hayes opened up in an interview with BB CSPORT and said it’s something that has come at the right time for her.

“I’ve definitely felt it the last six months,” Hayes admitted. “For 12 years, I’ve had to be a spokesperson for the sport and drive so many standards internally. I needed this [change] more than I realised.

“For me, it’s a little bit like Brazil in the men’s game. Historically what this team has stood for, what they have advocated for, what they have represented as women not just in this country but to the women’s game worldwide.

“It’s fitting for me to be with them and vice versa. I think we are coming together at the right time.”

Emma HayesEmma Hayes

Emma Hayes was formally unveiled as the new USWNT head coach last week / USSF/GettyImages

First on the agenda for Hayes is preparation ahead of this summer’s Olympic games in Paris. The U.S., who are four-time gold medalists, are in a group with Zambia, Germany and Australia.

Their first fixture takes place on July 25 and for Hayes, leading her new team at the Olympics will be a dream come true.

“Going to the Olympics for me is a dream,” she added. “I pinch myself that I get to lead the women’s US national team at the Paris Olympics.

“You spend so much time thinking that success is merely medals. For me it’s so much more than that.

“It’s being in the position I’m in and having the privilege to lead again another fabulous football team. That’s a gold medal for me, but if I am to get any medal in this tournament for sure it will be an unbelievable summer.”

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