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The U.S. Soccer Federation has found its crown jewel, announcing long-time Chelsea FC manager Emma Hayes as the new head coach of the U.S. women's national team on Tuesday. She will join the USWNT after the conclusion of the 2023-24 Women's Super League season in England, which ends in May, just before the start of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Current interim head coach Twila Kilgore will continue in her role and then join Hayes' staff full-time as an assistant coach.

"This is a huge honor to be given the opportunity to coach the most incredible team in world football history," said Hayes. "The feelings and connection I have for this team and for this country run deep. I've dreamed about coaching the USA for a long time so to get this opportunity is a dream come true. I know there is work to do to achieve our goals of winning consistently at the highest levels. To get there, it will require dedication, devotion and collaboration from the players, staff and everyone at the U.S. Soccer Federation."

Hayes has been at Chelsea since 2012 and led the club to multiple titles in the last 11 seasons, checking off various achievements along the way. She has won six Women's Super League titles, one WSL Spring Series title, five Women's FA Cups and two FA Women's League Cups. Hayes was also named The Best FIFA Women's Coach of the Year for 2021 and is a finalist for the award in 2023. 

She led the Blues to the UEFA Women's Champions League Final in 2021 and coached the club to five WSL and cup doubles, winning the league and the FA Cup four times and the league and the League Cup once. Chelsea won the domestic treble in 2020-2021, taking the WSL, FA Cup and League Cup trophies. She was inducted into the Women's Super League Hall of Fame in 2021.

"Emma is a fantastic leader and world class coach who sets high standards for herself and for everyone around her," said U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone. "She has tremendous energy and an insatiable will to win. Her experience in the USA, her understanding of our soccer landscape and her appreciation of what it means to coach this team makes her a natural fit for this role and we could not be more pleased to have her leading our women's national team forward."

Initial reports of the eventual hire were met with positive public feedback as a move that will help the program get back on track after the disappointing round of 16 exit from the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. Though the current timeline may raise eyebrows, Hayes' impressive background was a motivating factor in conceding some in-person build-up to the Olympics in order to land their preferred candidate with an eye on the future of the U.S. national team.

"Once the list of candidates was narrowed down, 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 U.S. women's national team forward," said U.S. Sporting Director Matt Crocker. 

"Her passion for the game, her coaching acumen, her ability to galvanize players and staff, her dedication to continue to evolve as a coach and her qualities as a person are all incredibly impressive. She has a great appreciation for the legacy of this program and embraces the big challenges ahead."

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Hayes was rewarded with an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 2022 for services to soccer in the UK and was named an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) on the Queen's 90th birthday honors list in June of 2016. She's also no stranger to the early foundation of women's club football in the United States.

She arrived to the U.S. in 2001 and coached at the youth level and with numerous clubs in the Long Island area. She also coached in the New York Olympic Development Program. Her first head coaching job was with the Long Island Lady Riders in the USL W-League from 2001-2003 where she was the youngest female head coach in the league and was named W-League Coach of the Year in 2002.

Hayes eventually returned to the U.S. in 2008 and coached the Chicago Red Stars during the start of WPS, the second iteration of a pro league in the country. She's known for selecting Megan Rapinoe with the second overall pick in the inaugural draft. She also spent time with the Washington Freedom as a coaching consultant and as technical director with New York Flash and won a title with the team in 2011.

"I understand how important this team is to the people and culture of the United States, not just the soccer community," said Hayes. "I fully understand the place this team has in U.S. society. I've lived it. I remember being a young coach working my way up through the system in the U.S. and watching all those young girls aspire to play on the U.S. Women's National Team. For me, the honor in building on that legacy is part of my motivation, no question."