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USWNT officially hires Emma Hayes as next head coach

Emma Hayes led Chelsea to the 2023 Women’s Super League title. (Harriet Lander/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Emma Hayes officially has been named the next head coach of the U.S. women’s national team, U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday.

The 47-year-old from England is stepping down as Chelsea head coach at the end of the Women’s Super League season in May 2024. That announcement from the English club on Nov. 4 coincided with a flurry of reports connecting Hayes to the USWNT opening.

Hayes replaces Vlatko Andonovksi, who stepped down as USWNT manager in August in the aftermath of a disappointing World Cup run. Twila Kilgore served as interim head coach for the September and October training camps, and she will continue in that role before joining Hayes’ staff as an assistant coach.

Hayes joined Chelsea in 2012. In her 11 seasons at the helm, not including the 2023-24 season, she has won six league titles, five FA Cups, two FA League Cups and one Community Shield. While the club made a bid to keep Hayes, their offer could not match that of the USWNT, where her base salary reportedly will match that of men’s coach Gregg Berhalter, who earns $1.6 million per year.

“This is a huge honor to be given the opportunity to coach the most incredible team in world football history,” Hayes said in a news release. “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.”

Through six matches this season, Chelsea sit atop the WSL table with 16 points. And her current roster includes two up-and-coming USWNT stars in Catarina Macario and Mia Fishel.

Before joining Chelsea, Hayes worked in the United States as part of the Women’s Professional Soccer league, a precursor to the NWSL. Hayes served as the head coach for the Chicago Red Stars from 2008 through 2010 and then as the technical director for the Western New York Flash in 2011.

Hayes’ impending hire was met with cheers from across the women’s soccer world. England head coach Sarina Wiegman called it “good for the women’s game,” while USWNT star-turned-analyst Carli Lloyd is “excited” by the move. USWNT midfielder Kristie Mewis said Hayes is “exactly what we need,” while forward Tobin Heath referred to the choice as a “no-brainer.”

The praise comes even after Hayes called out issues within the U.S. program after the USWNT’s exit from the 2023 World Cup. She pointed to problems with the development system, which have helped leave the team “massively short of creative talent.”

“The realities are, it is going to be very, very difficult for the US to climb back to the top,” Hayes wrote for The Telegraph. “I’m not saying they won’t, with hard work and the right conversations around their model. They will have to respond to this World Cup.”

The Late Sub Podcast: Can the USWNT Medal?

The USWNT takes a silly face photo during their team Olympic photo shoot
The USWNT will begin their 2024 Olympic medal hunt on Thursday. (Brad Smith/ISI/Getty Images).

This week, JWS podcast host Claire Watkins discusses WNBA All-Star Weekend, which felt both like a celebration of the league's explosive growth over the past year and a way to set Team USA up for a particularly competitive Summer Olympics.

Later, Watkins previews the field for the upcoming Olympic soccer tournament, nominating her personal "Group of Death" and discussing whether or not the new-era USWNT could still reach medal contention despite their current rebuild under new head coach Emma Hayes.

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Team USA, Germany Play Pre-Olympic Exhibition Game in London

Team USA's 5x5 Basketball Team stands for the National Anthem before Saturday's WNBA All-Star Game
Team USA looks to rebound from Saturday's WNBA All-Star Game loss in an exhibition against Germany today. (Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

USA Basketball's 5x5 team will tip off in an exhibition against Germany in London this afternoon, getting in one last tune-up before the Summer Olympics begin.

The US is hunting an eighth-straight gold medal this year, with group stage play starting on July 29th.

Team USA's Kahleah Copper, Alyssa Thomas, Kelsey Plum, and Sabrina Ionescu gear up to face Germany in pre-Olympic exhibition.
Team USA's Kahleah Copper, Alyssa Thomas, Kelsey Plum, and Sabrina Ionescu gear up to take on Germany in London. (Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

US to use All-Star loss as fuel

Coming off the weekend's All-Star Game loss, the Olympians are ready to repeat history: They earned their Tokyo gold medal immediately after losing the first Team USA vs. Team WNBA All-Star Game back in 2021.

Breanna Stewart, who led Team USA with a 31-point, 10-rebound double-double on Saturday, said that the defeat "is going to help us tremendously. We don’t get that many game opportunities, [and now] we can go back and watch the film and focus on how we can continue to be better."

Today’s tilt against Germany will see the US work to lock in their defense, particularly in the paint. They'll also lean into their positional versatility before heading to Paris.

WNBA pro Satou Sabally leads Team Germany in today's pre-Olympic exhibition game against Team USA.
WNBA pro Satou Sabally helped Germany to their first-ever Olympic berth. (Axel Heimken/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Olympic debutants Germany enter first US clash

The exhibition marks the first-ever US-Germany linkup. The German team will make their Olympic debut in Paris after decades of failing to qualify for major international competitions. Their sixth-place 2023 EuroBasket finish sent them into February’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, where they punched their ticket to the 2024 Games.

Leading Germany's run was two-time WNBA All-Star Satou Sabally, who put up career-high averages in points, rebounds, assists, and steals with Dallas last season. Her 20-point, 11-rebound double-double was the difference-maker in Germany's must-win 73-71 Olympic qualifying victory over Brazil.

Other German players to watch include 2022 NY Liberty draft-pick — and Sabally's sister — Nyara Sabally, along with Liberty sharpshooter Leonie Fiebich.

Where to watch the Team USA vs. Germany game

Today’s exhibition tips off at 3 PM ET with live coverage on FS1.

1v1 With Kelley O’Hara: USWNT Star Jaedyn Shaw Is Expecting “Dubs All Around”

retired uswnt star kelley o'hara interviewing san diego wave and uswnt forward jaedyn shaw
'1v1' is back with Jaedyn Shaw joining Kelley O'Hara for a conversation about the upcoming Paris Olympics. (Just Women's Sports)

In the latest episode of Just Women's Sports' 1v1 With Kelley O'Hara, San Diego Wave and USWNT star Jaedyn Shaw joins two-time World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist Kelley O'Hara for a one-on-one conversation about the upcoming Paris Olympics.

We hear from the 19-year-old Wave FC phenom about her first impressions of new USWNT coach Emma Hayes, her experience with international competition at this point in her young career, and how she's preparing to take on the 2024 Summer Games.

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The 91st: Complete USWNT & Olympic Soccer Preview Featuring Jess McDonald

Logo for JWS USWNT Olympic show The 91st
The latest season of JWS' awarding-winning Olympics show 'The 91st' premieres today. (Just Women's Sports)

We're back! Hosts Jordan Angeli, Duda Pavao, and retired USWNT forward Jess McDonald deliver a full preview of this year's Olympic soccer tournament in Paris.

Watch for full analysis of USWNT manager Emma Hayes's coaching style, this team's shifting identity in this new USWNT era, and a projected starting XI for the team's group stage opener against Zambia. The 91st hosts also break down all three Olympic groups — including top players and teams to track throughout the tournament — plus give their predictions for the medal rounds and individual awards.

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