Sonia Bompastor named Chelsea Women’s head coach replacing Emma Hayes | football news

Sonia Bompastor has been confirmed as the new coach of Chelsea Women, signing a four-year contract.

The 43-year-old, who replaces Emma Hayes, joins Chelsea from Lyon after three years in charge of the French club, where she won seven trophies, including three French league titles and the Women’s Champions League in 2022.

Bompastor won its third Women’s Division 1 in the 2023/24 season, but lost in Saturday’s Champions League final against Barcelona.

She will be accompanied by her assistants Camille Abily and Theo Rivrin. Abily retired in 2018 after a successful playing career in which she made 323 appearances for Lyon and 183 appearances for the French national team.

Chelsea general manager Paul Green said: “The sporting directors and I carried out a thorough and considered recruitment process to identify Emma’s successor.

“Sonia’s vision, coaching philosophy and winning mentality made her the outstanding candidate. She is a world-class coach with a proven track record of success on the biggest stages who will instantly command respect in the locker room.”

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French football journalist Julien Laurens believes Lyon manager Sonia Bompastor is the ideal choice to succeed Emma Hayes as Chelsea manager.

Chelsea co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley added: “Sonia is the ideal candidate to build on Emma’s legacy and take the team forward.

“She brings a wealth of experience managing at the highest level and winning trophies as a player and coach. Her ethos and values ​​align with Chelsea Football Club. We are all looking forward to having her on board.”

Hayes, who joined the United States women’s national team, left Chelsea after winning a record fifth consecutive Women’s Super League title.

It ended a 12-year spell in west London, where he won 14 major domestic titles, including seven WSL titles, five FA Cups and two League Cups.

Who is Sonia Bopastor?

Sonia Bompastor led Lyon to Champions League success in 2022
Sonia Bompastor led Lyon to Champions League success in 2022

There were two criteria that Chelsea looked for when appointing a manager to fill Hayes’ incredibly big shoes.

Any new coach must maintain the club’s success. Chelsea has dominated domestic football in England for years and has begun to impose itself in Europe as well.

A female trainer is also high on her wish list. In Hayes, Chelsea have had a pioneer. One of the sport’s leading champions, responsible for growth and change, a major player in improving the overall health of the sport.

The fact that she did it from a female perspective is equally important. Hayes entered the sport at a time when very few female voices were taken seriously: to this day there is still a gap between experienced female head coaches.

How familiar faces could help Bompsator establish itself in the WSL

Bopastor will have familiar faces to greet her on her first day at Cobham. Kadeisha Buchanan and Macario joined Chelsea from Lyon and have already played under the incoming coach.

French international Eve Perisset will also meet her compatriot, while Ashley Lawrence will have faced Bopastor with PSG.

There will also be a shared language. Although Bompastor is believed to speak English well, players who can understand her in French are always a plus.

It will also help her adapt to the WSL and life across the English Channel, and Abdullah agrees it will be helpful to have some of her former players at the club.

“I don’t know how well he’ll do,” he said. “Lyon was essentially his first big job and when they give you a big team in a league you’re expected to dominate, it’s a little bit easier, but winning the Champions League was impressive.

“I think it will take her a little bit of time to adapt, so it’s important that she gets players she knows along with the team she has. Buchanan, Macario and Perisset are players she will be familiar with, given that she coached the first two. and he won the Champions League with them, so implementing his ideas will be a little easier.”

And Bopastor fits both: she is another woman running a major European club, with a proven track record of success.

“Sonia is another great personality,” said writer and analyst Abdullah Abdullah. sky sports. He has written books about the careers of Lyon and Chelsea in European competitions.

“She came into a Lyon dressing room that needed guidance after they got a little lost under the previous coach. She is a legend of the club and of French football, so she was immediately respected and praised internally.

“That gave him a base with the French players. This can be replicated at Chelsea with someone who is a legend, but who has also played in the Champions League and league titles.”

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Chelsea announces strategic growth plan

In addition to Bompastor’s arrival, Chelsea also announced a “long-term strategic plan to accelerate the growth of Chelsea Women.”

With NewCo set to take over management of the WSL and FA Women’s Championship next season, Chelsea are taking the opportunity to adopt a new structure to sit alongside the men’s team, rather than below. It will include dedicated resources, management and business leadership focused solely on the women’s team.

Chelsea are also seeking new investment for their women’s team, with a statement from the club explaining: “Currently, any potential investor in a WSL team must invest through a men’s team.

“After analyzing the market and discussing it with investors, there is a strong desire for the opportunity to invest solely in women’s football… BDT & MSD Partners, a global commercial bank, has been hired as a financial advisor for a potential investment minority in the club, including assessing incoming interest related to Chelsea Women.

“The club’s ownership group will remain Chelsea’s majority shareholder and is committed to making further substantial investments that will enrich the team, elevate player development and ensure a world-class environment for our athletes and staff.”

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