‘Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened’ is the emotion that every fan of Chelsea FC is feeling right now. It was a regular outing for Chelsea as they ran riot in a 6-0 win over Aston Villa. But a shock statement by the club through their social media handles confirming the departure of their legendary coach.
Hayes has been a revelation for the club ever since she joined them back in 2012. Under her stewardship, the club transformed into a global powerhouse, winning 15 trophies in eleven years, and she has elevated the profile of the women’s game as a whole. Her trophies include six WSL titles, five Women’s FA Cups, two Continental Cups, the Spring Series, a Community Shield victory whilst also leading the Blues to their first Champions League final. In addition to being selected the WSL manager of the season six times & the Best FIFA Women’s Football Coach in 2021, she received an MBE and OBE for her contributions to the field of sports.
Some of the top players in the women’s game have benefited from Hayes’ coaching and development. From signing Fran Kirby in 2015 to bringing in household players like Sam Kerr and Pernille Harder, she has established a ruthless, solid dynasty at Chelsea that has mastered home victories.
Chelsea’s chairman, Todd Boehly, and co-owner Behdad Eghbali put a statement on Emma’s decision to step down as the head coach: “Emma’s contribution to Chelsea cannot be understated. She has been a pioneer in women’s football and is hugely respected within the game. We look forward to continuing to work together over the coming months.”
Emma Hayes to depart Chelsea at the end of the season.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) November 4, 2023
We have to look beyond the trophy cabinet to look at her impact on Chelsea Football Club and the English Football for women in general. The winning atmosphere she has established encourages athletes to express themselves creatively and on the field. In addition, Hayes has been a strong supporter of women’s football and has spoken out on behalf of causes like media coverage and fair pay.
The increased popularity of the women’s game in England can be attributed in large part to Hayes’s success at Chelsea Women. The team’s Champions League games have been shown live, and their Kingsmeadow home games are consistently sold out. Hayes’ sides have also received recognition for their appealing brand of football, which has drawn in new supporters.
She has shown a lot of women from different walks of life that it is possible for them to achieve great things while going through some of the harshest realities which include wanting a better work-life balance to spend more time with her son, Harry.
Hayes’ next adventure seems to be to become the head coach of USWNT and boy do they need a reset button. After the debacle, the team suffered in Australia & New Zealand someone of the caliber of Emma Hayes will be needed to take and reset the culture of USWNT. As for Chelsea fan, this news will be very tough to take but the good part is the club and celebrate her and the legacy she has built at Kingsmeadow.