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Chelsea boss Hayes confirmed as US women’s soccer coach

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes has been appointed as the new head coach of the United States in a record deal that will make her the world’s highest-paid women’s football coach, the United States Soccer Federation said Tuesday.

Hayes, 47, revealed earlier this month she plans to leave Chelsea at the end of the season after a trophy-laden spell in charge of the English club.

“This is a huge honor to be given the opportunity to coach the most incredible team in world football history,” Hayes said in a USSF statement confirming her appointment.

US Soccer did not divulge details of Hayes’ contract, but said she would become the “highest paid women’s soccer coach in the world”.

ESPN, citing a source with knowledge of the contract negotiations, reported that Hayes’ deal would run through 2027 and see her earn a salary that was “close if not equal” to the $1.6 million earned by US men’s football coach Gregg Berhalter.

Hayes will see out her duties with Chelsea in the WSL and then formally take up her US role next year, two months before the 2024 Olympics in Paris, where the Americans will be looking to recapture the gold medal they last won in 2012.

Hayes is one of the most respected figures in the world of women’s football, leading Chelsea to six WSL titles, five FA Cups and two league cups. In 2021 she took Chelsea to the final of the women’s Champions League and was named FIFA’s women’s coach of the year.

The English coach, who started her coaching career in women’s club football in the United States in 2001 after a promising playing career was cut short by injury, will now be handed the task of returning the USA to the pinnacle of women’s football.

‘I’ve lived it’

The US women have dominated women’s international football for much of the past decade, winning back-to-back World Cups in 2015 and 2019.

However the Americans were bundled out of the last World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in August in the last 16 — the team’s worst-ever showing at a World Cup.

Vlatko Andonovski left as coach in the aftermath.

Hayes said her appointment was the realisation of a lifelong dream, adding that the job was simply impossible to turn down.

“I’ve dreamed about doing this job from my days as a coach in my early twenties,” Hayes said. “You can’t turn the US Women’s National Team down.”

US Soccer sporting director Matt Crocker said Hayes was chosen after the federation worked through “a large list” of candidates.

“We had a group of excellent coaches and leaders to consider, but we felt strongly that Emma was the best person and coach to take the US Women’s National Team forward,” Crocker said.

US Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone said Hayes was “a fantastic leader and world class coach who sets high standards for herself and for everyone around her.”

Hayes, who started her coaching career as a relative unknown with the Long Island Lady Riders in 2001, before subsequent stints with the Iona Gaels college team and Chicago Red Stars, said her formative years in the US had given her a solid grasp of the importance of the US women’s team.

“I understand how important the team is to people and culture of the United States,” she said. “I’ve lived it.

“I remember being a young coach working my way up through the system in the US and watching all those young girls aspire to play on the US Women’s National Team.

“For me, the honor of building on that legacy is part of my motivation, no question.”

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