Hayes: Best FIFA award evoked childhood memories

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes admits she thought back to the dreams she had as a child when she was named women’s coach of the year at the Best FIFA Football Awards on Monday.

The 45-year-old took the accolade after guiding the Blues to a domestic treble and the Champions League final in 2021.

When she was announced as the award winner on Monday evening, Hayes – via a video link from her home – described herself as “completely shocked”.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s League Cup quarter-final against West Ham, she said: “That was a shocking moment – but I think I was more worried that the Amazon driver at the front door was going to knock it down!

“There’s so many different amazing coaches that are deserving of these awards, just as with the players, and I feel like they always create controversial conversation in and around it.

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Chelsea’s Emma Hayes says she was ‘stunned’ after being named The Best FIFA Women’s Coach for 2021.

“For me, I’m a team player, and I feel like I believe in the team awards. So I’m a bit uncomfortable with it to be honest with it you.

“However, it is what it is, I’m happy to receive it and also grateful that I work with such brilliant people here at Chelsea that allow me to do my job every day.”

She added: “When they called my name out…the first thing I thought about was that little kid, kicking a ball against the wall, and whether I was commentating to myself about scoring a goal in a cup final or leading a team.

“That’s the first thought that came into my head – ‘oh my God, as a little girl I dreamed about these things, I’ve just had a dream turn into instant reality’. And then I felt instantly embarrassed!

“The funniest thing about it all is my son came downstairs and he said ‘Mummy, you’ve won an award – is that for being the best Mummy?’ Dream fulfilled – and in my son’s eyes, I won an award for being Mummy of the year. Brilliant.”

The silverware Hayes, who was awarded an OBE for services to football in the New Year Honours List, has led Chelsea to since she took charge at the club in 2014 includes four Women’s Super League titles, three FA Cups and two League Cups.

Image: Chelsea manager Emma Hayes celebrates with the Women’s FA Cup trophy

Asked how she felt her award would help in terms of the growth of the women’s game and youngsters thinking about going into coaching, Hayes said: “I think when you are that person, where words like role model or an inspiration or a pioneer get used a lot, you don’t really understand it.

“I don’t really understand it – and not because I’m ignorant, but because I’m doing a job that I love doing every day. First and foremost, this is what I love doing – I love doing football.

“Second, it’s the whole sport, and everything across that spectrum, it’s all of us that will influence the next level for the game, in terms of making sure those that are involved in it, invested in it, influenced by it, that that base
is even bigger.

“The fact that we’re more front and centre across the board, that there’s more regular coverage, I think is helping the game. I’m just one of those parts, and that movement, for me, is far more powerful than any individual or any individual award within it.”

Sky Sports to show Arsenal vs Man Utd, Chelsea vs Arsenal in February

Last season’s WSL champions Chelsea will go head to head with league leaders Arsenal live on Sky Sports this February, with Man Utd’s visit to Arsenal also featuring.

Table-topping Arsenal, who suffered their first defeat of this WSL campaign against bottom-side Birmingham earlier this month, host Manchester United on Saturday February 5; kick off at 12.30pm.

Image: Arsenal will play games against Chelsea and Man Utd live on Sky Sports in February

The fixture could have added spice with the two sides also meeting in the FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup quarter-final.

Arsenal then travel to Kingsmeadow for a mouth-watering fixture against Chelsea on Friday February 11; kick-off 7.45pm.

Chelsea are currently five points behind Arsenal but they have a game in hand on the Gunners with next month’s London derby shaping up to be a genuine six-pointer in the race for the title.

Source : Sky Sports