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Emma Hayes to leave Chelsea at the end of the season and in talks to become USA boss

Emma Hayes has won six WSL titles during her Chelsea tenure but will leave in the summer to pursue "a new opportunity outside of the WSL and club football"; Hayes is US Soccer's preferred candidate to be the new head coach of their women's national team

Emma Hayes celebrates with her fourth successive WSL title
Image: Emma Hayes celebrates with her fourth successive WSL title this summer

Emma Hayes is in talks with US Soccer and is the preferred candidate to be the new head coach of their women's national team after Chelsea announced she would be leaving at the end of the season.

Chelsea said Hayes, who is one of the most respected and successful managers in women's football, is departing "to pursue a new opportunity outside of the WSL and club football".

The announcement was made shortly after Hayes' Chelsea team won 6-0 at Aston Villa to return to the top of the WSL table.

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After the announcement of Emma Hayes' departure from Chelsea at the end of the season, we look back on some of her best moments from the 2022-2023 season

Under her leadership, Chelsea have won six FA WSL titles, five Women's FA Cups, two FA Women's League Cups, one FA Women's Spring Series trophy and one FA Women's Community Shield.

Hayes, 47, also guided the team to a historic double on two occasions and achieved one domestic treble.

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Highlights from the WSL clash between Aston Villa and Chelsea

Chelsea co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said: "Emma has been one of the biggest drivers of change in women's football. Her achievements at Chelsea are unrivalled and will live in the club's history forever.

"Given everything she has contributed to Chelsea in over a decade with the club, and the legacy she leaves behind, we would never stand in her way when she felt it was the right time to pursue a new challenge.

"We are pleased that she will remain with the club for the remainder of the season to give us the time to identify her successor.

"There will be plenty of time to celebrate Emma's many achievements at the club and to give her the farewell she deserves, but for now, as she always has been, Emma will be solely focused on making this season as successful as possible for Chelsea."

Image: Chelsea beat Aston Villa 6-0 on Saturday

Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly and co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali added: "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."

Hayes, who had previously been linked to the vacant United States women's national team role currently occupied by interim boss Twila Kilgore, has been named FA WSL Manager of the Season on six occasions and LMA WSL Manager of the Season five times.

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Sky Sports News' Anton Toloui explains why Chelsea boss Emma Hayes would be a perfect match for the USA national team job.

She was inducted into the WSL Hall of Fame in 2021.

Former England international Sue Smith speculated on Hayes' next destination at the end of Soccer Saturday, adding: "Whoever gets Emma Hayes is getting a top-quality manager. I think we all know that."

Analysis: Hayes a pioneer in English women's football

Sky Sports' Charlotte Marsh:

"It is unusual for a manager to announce their departure from a club so early in the season - but Emma Hayes has always broken the mould.

"And in a lot of ways, seven months is needed to try and comprehend just how big of an impact Hayes has not only had at Chelsea, but across women's football in England as a whole.

"Her numbers for the Blues speak for themselves - trophies upon records upon titles. And wouldn't it be the end to the fairy tale if she bowed out by winning the club their first Champions League title?

"By transforming Chelsea into the women's powerhouse they are, Hayes has championed and pioneered the standards that the entire game is now being held to.

"Player health across the board, facilities, training methods, staffing, transfers - you can see Hayes' influence in each area. Women's football would simply not be where it is without her lighting the way.

"She has been at the forefront of the growth of women's football, a voice others turn to for opinion and direction on the biggest issues facing not only the game, but women overall.

"Hayes too has shown that this can all be achieved as a mother, as someone who battles against health issues and personal loss just like us all. None of it has impacted her ability to do her job successfully and reflects the human element that can sometimes be missing in football.

"Her rumoured move to the USA offers her a new challenge and one that will be incredibly exciting to watch unfold.

"But for now, the tributes and goodbyes will come flooding in over the coming months and rightly so. Chelsea and women's football have a lot to thank Hayes for."

Who do Chelsea play next?

Chelsea are back in action with a trip to Everton next Sunday, kick-off 1pm. Their Champions League campaign then kicks off, when they head to the continent to face Real Madrid on November 15, kick-off 8pm.

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