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Future USWNT coach Emma Hayes expecting emotional Chelsea departure

Emma Hayes met with USWNT players and staff ahead of the December friendlies against China. (Harriet Lander/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Emma Hayes is expecting her departure from Chelsea to be an emotional one.

Hayes is set to take over the U.S. women’s national team at the end of the Women’s Super League season. And while she’s excited to take on her new role, she’s sad to be leaving the club that she’s been with since 2012.

“I don’t think they’ll be mixed [emotions], I’ll be absolutely distraught. I’m a bit of a sobber. I think I’ll cry my eyes out for the last few weeks,” Hayes told the Football Writers’ Association (FWA) in an interview. “I think I’m now at a point where I’m looking forward to being in the crowd, coming back and hopefully watching Chelsea in many finals.

“I’ve done my bit and I certainly hope they welcome me back as a fan because that’s how I see myself.”

During her time with Chelsea, Hayes has helped the team to 13 major trophies, including to six league titles and five FA Cups. On Sunday she became the first woman in 42 years to win the Football Writers’ Tribute award.

The only thing missing from Hayes’ resume is a Champions League title. Chelsea lost to Barcelona in the final in 2021.

After the season, she’ll set her sights on the USWNT and winning tournaments like the Olympics and World Cup.

“The whole thing’s a huge challenge,” Hayes told the Football Writers’ Association. “While we don’t have the game accumulation like I face as a club manager, the challenge of all the things the job involves, I’m looking forward to. It’s a lot less hands-on with players but it means I’ll develop another side to myself and I’ll have to work with a team off the pitch as well in a much different way to prepare for major tournaments.

“I’m so excited to go to an Olympics and a World Cup. (It’s) what dreams are made of to think I’m in a position where I can lead a team out at the Paris Olympics and a World Cup in three years. Happy days.”