“Oh, busy,” Emma Hayes said at the start of the news conference. The Chelsea Football Club media room had never been so crowded when she took over as coach of the club’s women’s team in August 2012. The trigger for the conversation on Friday was an earlier announcement from Chelsea that she would step down from her position at the end of this season after twelve years of service. Fans have shown a hugely increased interest in the Women’s Super League in England – especially interest in Hayes herself, one of the most successful and popular football coaches and ambassadors for her sport.
As usual, Hayes (47 years old) captured attention in her first public appearance after announcing this long-term decision to talk about the challenges of her job. In this way, she played a major role in improving women’s football conditions for players and coaches in England. The North Londoner from Camden gave the reason for her emotional farewell: “I’m a mum!” I am a mother.
At Chelsea, some people accuse her of looking for opportunity outside club football
Despite her commitments to her five-year-old son, Hayes continued to “dedicate her life” to the club for a long time. But as a result of the resulting pressures, the compatibility between family and work increasingly suffers. She complained that the daily commute alone would take four hours due to city traffic, plus matches on the weekend and trips to away matches. Their conclusion: There is still a lot of room for improvement in soccer for women with children. Therefore, she believes that her decision was in no way “selfish”, but rather “selfless”, because she now prioritizes “other things” in her life – for example her son.
Clearly, her former employer had a different attitude toward her sudden departure. The first sentence of Chelsea’s letter clearly states that Hayes will leave the club to pursue “a new opportunity outside club football”. The wording sparked confirmed rumors that Hayes would take over the vacant and highly attractive US women’s national coaching position starting in the summer of 2024. She responded with a wink, saying the wording also suggested she could become a pilot. When asked, Hayes did not elaborate on her future.
But she expressed her disappointment that “private conversations” with Chelsea were leaked to the media. In many reports, it can be read that Chelsea sporting director Paul Winstanley was said to have treated her contract extension as a secondary priority. Hayes is essentially the last Chelsea manager to have worked in management under previous owner Roman Abramovich, who left in May 2022.
However, Hayes’ services to Chelsea are unquestionable. Since the start of her career, she has made the Blues the new No. 1 player in the FA Women’s Premier League. She and her teams have won a total of five FA Cups and six Championships, the last four in a row. The only thing he misses as a coach is the Champions League title. Chelsea will start the competition against Real Madrid on Wednesday. Should be busy again.
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