I’m looking forward to seeing what Emma Hayes will do when she leaves her role as Chelsea manager at the end of the season.
The club confirmed last weekend Hayes was leaving at the end of the season to pursue a new opportunity outside the WSL – and it looks like that opportunity is the vacant US Women’s national team manager job.
Emma has been at Chelsea for 11 years and has been a permanent fixture in the WSL. Her impact at the club and the wider women’s game is very clear to see.
She implemented success on the pitch – winning everything there is to win domestically – and has created a top elite environment.
In football there is a lot of tradition, but Emma has been happy to break that, be outspoken and implement ways of working which benefits the players – and that then reflects on their output on the pitch.
Under her leadership, Chelsea have been willing to address things that were not addressed before.
For example, in 2020, the club became the first to tailor training according to the players’ menstrual cycles after Emma noticed how it affected mood and energy in the squad.
It is a reason why so many people look up to her. They admire the philosophies she implements day-to-day to get the best out of her players.
She will be at Chelsea until the end of the season and while the players will be disappointed to see her leave, her exit will give the players an extra incentive to go out and make sure her tenure ends on a high.
Hayes suited for – and will embrace – pressure of USWNT challenge
There is probably no bigger game in women’s football than the USWNT job.
The fact she has been handpicked by the football federation for the manager’s job speaks volumes. It is one of the biggest compliments you could get as a coach.
It feels like the right fit. Like Emma has done at Chelsea, the US have won everything there is to win and it’s an environment that comes with an abundance of pressure.
That pressure has intensified as the US have lost their top spot in recent years. They did not win gold at the delayed Olympics in 2021 and had their worst-ever finish at the 2023 World Cup when they were knocked out in the round of 16.
It is going to be a huge task to get the national team back to the standard that we are all used to them reaching.
But Emma will relish that. She has the football experience to do it, but she also has the right mindset and attitude to deal with the demands of the job.
It feels like the USWNT is in a period of transition just now.
Some of the old guard are retiring or near the end of their careers, and in the NWSL, the young players have impressed and look ready to make the step up to the national team.
Emma has experience of developing young players at Chelsea, so that is another area where she will bring the right attributes.
Caroline Weir named Spanish league’s best
I was delighted to see my Scotland team-mate and Caroline Weir named the La Liga women’s player of the year after an impressive first season at Real Madrid.
It is an amazing achievement for her to be voted as the league’s best player as there are several other world class players in the division who would have been in contention, with there being five or six at Barcelona alone.
To go abroad and hit the ground running like Caroline did reflects the kind of player and person she is.
It is not easy to go abroad and embrace a different country, a different culture, a different language and a different style of football.
The award was voted for by the players and that will mean a lot to Caroline. To get the votes and recognition of your peers is always a nice feeling.
She has had a difficult start to this season and will be out for some time after sustaining an ACL injury, so, the award is a good bit of good news amid a difficult time and, hopefully, that will give her some encouragement.
Caley Thistle must embrace challenging Women’s Scottish Cup draw
The third round draw for the Women’s Scottish Cup took place earlier this week and one north side in particular were handed the toughest of tough draws.
Caley Thistle will host current SWPL leaders Rangers in the third round and, while it is a harsh draw, it is something the Inverness players will have to make the most of.
It is a rare chance for them to play against professional players and several players who have represented their respective national teams. Some people go their whole careers without getting to face those kind of opponents.