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Sarina Wiegman: Emma Hayes’ USWNT move ‘good for women’s game’

Chelsea head coach Emma Hayes is preparing to take the same role for U.S. women's national team. (Harriet Lander/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

England women’s national team head coach Sarina Wiegman believes that Emma Hayes’ hiring as the USWNT head coach is “good for the women’s game.”

Women’s Super League club Chelsea announced Saturday that Hayes would depart at the end of the 2023-24 season. Reports of Hayes filling the USWNT opening soon followed, with U.S. Soccer’s board of directors reportedly approving the hire over the weekend, though no official announcement has been made.

Hayes is a huge get for the USWNT, as she has built Chelsea into one of the top clubs in the world. She has led the team to six WSL titles and has been named Best FIFA Football Coach in 2021. Under Hayes, Chelsea also have won the FA Cup five times.

“It’s really incredible what she has achieved and what she has changed and the visibility she has, and that helps the women’s game,” Wiegman told BBC Radio. “So that’s Chelsea, but it goes so much further than Chelsea. It’s just really changed the women’s football world. And we need more coaches like Emma.”

Wiegman’s hope is that the visibility of a coach as accomplished as Hayes will help to grow not only the women’s game but also the number of women coaches who are involved in it.

“For the bigger picture of the women’s game, I think it’s good,” she said. “What you hope is that with her visibility and with more coaches that are visible, that you get more female coaches that can do a great job. And whatever level you coach, we need more women in football. It’s a little bit sad for England and Chelsea, but it’s also good for the women’s game in general.”

And as for the possibility of Hayes receiving equal pay to U.S. men’s national team manager Gregg Berhalter — which at least has been on the table for U.S. Soccer, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer — Wiegman said that she can only “talk about my situation.”

“Since I’ve come in and worked for the FA, I felt treated so equal. And it’s not only about money,” she said. “It’s about the facilities, it’s about the full-time staff with the best staff members with quality. It’s about all the facilities, all the opportunities we get to perform at our highest level. And I feel equally treated and that feels really good.”