Emma Hayes was appointed manager in August 2012, replacing Matt Beard after his three years in charge, and succeeding in leading the team to Women's FA Cup for the first time in 2015, quickly following it with the Women's Super League title to complete a historic and memorable double. She was the only female manager in that league at that stage and the previous season her side had finished close runners-up, thereby qualifying for the Women's Champions League for the first time.
Having won the Spring Series in 2017, Hayes' side completed a second domestic Double of Women's FA Cup and WSL title in 2018. We also reached the semi-final of the Champions League for a second time.
Hayes's career in management spans over a decade and she earned huge plaudits after leaving her native North London for successful spells in America.
Hayes joined W-League side the Long Island Lady Riders in 2001, for a two-year spell during which she was the youngest female head coach in W-League in history. She scooped the National Coach of the Year award in 2002.
This was followed by a spell at Iona College, where Hayes collected another individual honour, being named Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Coach of the Year in 2004, before leading her side to the 2004/05 MAAC Conference Championships. She returned to English football in 2006.
Hayes served as assistant first team coach at Arsenal Ladies, as the Gunners achieved unprecedented success, winning 11 major trophies during a three-season spell in north London, including three Women's Premier League titles, three FA Women's Cups and the UEFA Women's Cup crown. Her role in the Arsenal backroom staff was combined with her position as Academy director, overseeing the development of young players at the club, many of whom currently feature in the Women's Super League.
After a trophy-laden spell in north London, Hayes headed Stateside once again in 2008, holding a series of managerial positions at clubs in the Women's Professional League, beginning with a spell at Chicago Red Stars. Her time in Chicago as head coach saw her assemble a squad of US internationals and established European names, combined with the cream of American college soccer talent. She was also director of soccer operations, building the club infrastructure into a sustainable, professional franchise before her departure in 2010.
After spells as a coaching consultant at Washington Freedom and technical director at New York Flash, Hayes returned to the UK in 2011.
Hayes was made an MBE in the Queen's 90th birthday honours list in June 2016 and was presented with it the following December.
She promptly led Chelsea to another trophy, the WSL Spring Series title in the first half of 2017, and in October that year she signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract. In May 2018, just as the Double was being completed, she gave birth to a son.
Further silverware followed in 2020 as the Blues clinched the Continental Tyres League Cup and were crowned the Barclays FA Women's Super League champions. Although the league ended prematurely due to COVID-19, it was decided by the FA that Hayes' undefeated side were winners, based on a points-per-game system.
Hayes was named the 2019/20 the WSL Manager of the Season after guiding the Blues to a brilliant unbeaten domestic campaign of 12 victories and three draws.