When you think of Women’s Soccer and the global game, what is the first team that comes to mind? It’s the US Women’s National Team. The USWNT has won four of nine Women’s World Cups and was the first powerhouse of the game on the international level.
It’s been 32 years since that first World Cup, and the rest of the world has caught up to the USWNT. So much so that a disappointing 2023 Women’s World Cup saw the USA crash out at the Round of 16. This prompted the firing of a coach who was in over his head, Vlatko Andonovski, this summer.
With the end of the year around the corner, and the preparation for next Summer’s Olympic tournament on their minds, the USWNT went out and found their next coach who will lead them. That coach is Emma Hayes, one the most decorated club coaches in the history of the game, and a massive get for US Soccer.
Get to know the next USWNT boss Emma Hayes
Emma Hayes may not be a name many are accustomed to seeing if they only watch the international game every four years; but if you follow women’s football, then you know that Hayes is up there with the best coaches in the world on either the men’s or women’s side of the game. What some may not know is that this Londoner grew her coaching routes in the United States of America.
Hayes had a brief playing career, one that was cut short due to injuries. As she turned her views to the coaching side, her father played a major part after witnessing a Women’s World Cup match in 1999 in the USA. He called his daughter and told her that this nation was crazy for the women’s game. When Hayes began her coaching career she came across the pond, spending six years coaching professionally at and at the college level.
After some success, she went back home to be an assistant at the club where she played, Arsenal. As part of a powerhouse, Hayes helped an already juggernaut Arsenal continue to win. After two seasons she needed a new challenge and came back to the States to help build a team (the Chicago Red Stars) from the ground up. Part of that team build was to use their top pick in the college draft to begin the pro career of Megan Rapinoe.
Her two years there can be categorized as a failure, which prompted her to take a hiatus from coaching. That hiatus set up an opportunity that Hayes has called her dream job; take a basement-dwelling team and build them up into a superpower.
This of course was her appointment at Chelsea. When Emma Hayes arrived, the team had part-time players and staff, and they were no good. Hayes instilled a winning culture on and off the pitch. Her organization, process, and willingness to lead helped Chelsea go from those perennial bottom dwellers to the best team in just a few short years. Hayes and her team didn’t look back after that.
Since the 2014-2015 season, Chelsea has won six Women’s Super League (WSL) titles, five Women’s FA Cup championships, and two FA Women’s League Cups. For those keeping track, that’s 13 trophies in seven seasons, or one-and-a-half trophies a year! The accolades for Hayes followed her team’s success, as she won the FA WSL Manager of the Year six times, has been inducted into the Women’s Super League Hall of Fame, and was named the Best FIFA Football Coach (given to the best coach in the world on the men’s or women’s side) in 2021!
Hayes now is taking the next step in her managing career. Leaving the club game where she has created a powerhouse, to come manage a nation where her managerial journey started. The USWNT was in limbo hurtling towards next summer’s Olympics. They needed someone to take the helm, and US Soccer went out and got the coach they wanted to help them move into a new era while also maintaining a pedigree of the highest caliber.
USWNT is readying for its next era with Hayes at the helm
Over the last few years, the USWNT went from being the top team in the World with a pack of other nations chasing them, to falling backward into the charging pack. Their fall from their 2019 World Cup win, to taking Bronze at the 2020 Olympic Games, and failing to make the quarterfinals of the 2023 World Cup put this team in a bad spot, now Emma Hayes will be tasked with bringing the team back to the front of the pack.
The USWNT is in a transition on the sideline with their new coach, and on the pitch, as major players like Megan Rapinoe and Julie Ertz have retired. Hayes will be the coach to usher in a rising generation featuring, Trinity Rodman, Sophia Smith, Naomi Girma, and many others who may not even be on the radar yet. If there’s one person to trust with bringing forth this new era it’s Hayes. Her track record of organization and winning is something that needs to be reinstalled in this US Women’s side!
Four-time World Cup-winning USA renews their winning pedigree with a winning coach
The Women’s national team that has won the most World Cups now has a coach who can raise the level of what it means to be a winner. The USWNT has been in a state of limbo since 2019. When Jill Ellis left as the coach of the team, it seemed like a lot of the winning culture went with her. The talent on the field is that of a championship team, but the person who leads the team is of the utmost importance. They are the leader who can rile the team up or calm them down when needed. If the leader is a winner, then the team itself will be a winner.
US Soccer is renewing its winning pedigree with the appointment of Emma Hayes to the USWNT. The changing of the guard on the sideline and the pitch coming into an Olympic year is a crucial time. Hayes now can lead this USWNT group of core veterans and rising stars. The USA has allowed other nations to catch them in terms of competitive spirit and skill; Hayes will be tasked with getting this USWNT side to rise above the rest and reestablish their dominance of the Women’s game when she starts with the team in May of 2024!
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Mandatory Credit: AP Photo/Martin Meissner, AP Photo/Josie Lepe, AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File