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Chelsea legend Emma Hayes targets glory with USA

Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes will leave the London club at the end of the 2023/24 season to take charge of USA Women.

Hayes, appointed Chelsea boss in 2012, has established the Blues as the dominant force in the Women's Super League and her achievements have not gone unnoticed.

She will reportedly become the world's highest-paid women's coach when she starts her role with the USWNT next year and we have taken a look back at her glittering career at Chelsea. 

Interim boss seizes opportunity at Chelsea

Emma Hayes was born in London, but her coaching career started in the United States where she had a successful stint in charge of the Long Island Lady Riders in 2002.

After returning to England to work as assistant coach and director of the academy at Arsenal in 2006, she crossed the Atlantic again in 2008 for a two-year spell as manager of Chicago Red Stars.

Her extraordinary Chelsea career began in understated fashion as she was appointed on an interim basis after the departure of manager Matt Beard to Liverpool in 2012.

The Blues, still not fully professional at that stage, struggled in their first two seasons under Hayes but in 2014 they came up just short in the WSL title race.

A final-day defeat at Manchester City meant Liverpool pipped them to the championship on goal difference but Chelsea responded to that disappointment in style the following season.

Hayes led them to a domestic double, winning the WSL and beating Notts County 1-0 in the final of the FA Cup, although their maiden Champions League campaign ended in a 4-1 aggregate defeat to Wolfsburg.  

Dominant Blues scoop domestic treble in 2021

The 2015 title triumph was the first of six WSL triumphs for Hayes and her Chelsea side, who are 4/7 to win the league again in 2023/24.

Arsenal are rated their closest challengers at 11/4, with Manchester City 8/1 and Manchester United 10/1, but Chelsea have made a commanding start to their title defence, winning five and drawing one of their first six matches.

Hayes had played a crucial role in raising the standard of the women's game in the professional era and Chelsea stalwarts Millie Bright and Fran Kirby starred in England's victory at Euro 2022.

Centre-back Bright captained the Lionesses during this year's run to the World Cup final and only Barcelona had more players at the 2023 tournament than Chelsea's 16.

Hayes is used to coaching top international talents and her record at club level is outstanding.

Chelsea won the league and FA Cup double in 2015, 2017/18, 2021/22 and 2022/23, while in 2019/20 they were crowned champions of England and also lifted the League Cup.

Their dominance reached its peak in 2020/21 when they scooped all three domestic trophies and made the final of the Champions League.

They lost 4-0 to an inspired Barcelona in Gothenburg, but Hayes was awarded the the Best FIFA Women's Coach Award in 2021 in recognition of an amazing season.  

Champions League and Olympic glory in coach's sights

Hayes, a six-time WSL Manager of the Season who has received an OBE and an MBE, would love to get her hands on the Champions League trophy before leaving Chelsea.

The 2021 final defeat to Barca was the closest the Blues have come to being crowned European champions, but they are consistently competitive at the top level - reaching the semi-finals in four of the past six seasons.

Chelsea kicked off the 2023/24 campaign with a 2-2 draw away to Real Madrid, where Hayes was frustrated by some crucial refereeing decisions, and they are 7/1 to win the Champions League in her final season at the club.

Barcelona, who beat the Blues 2-1 on aggregate in last season's semi-finals, are 4/7 to retain the trophy, while Lyon are 9/2 and Bayern Munich are 12/1.

Hayes has a hugely talented Chelsea squad to work with in her final season, including England stars Bright, Kirby and Lauren James, Australia striker Sam Kerr and exciting USA forwards Catarina Macario and Mia Fishel.

Macario and Fishel will be hoping to impress their incoming national coach Hayes, who may not have to wait long to claim a first trophy with the USWNT.

The Women's Champions League final takes place on 25th May 2024 and just two months later Hayes will lead the US in the football competition at the Paris Olympics.

Expectations are high for the four-time World Cup winners but Hayes, no stranger to silverware herself, should relish the challenge.

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