Chelsea Women’s boss Emma Hayes has been named FA WSL Manager of the Season after clinching a third league title in a row.
Hayes led her team to success not only in the WSL but also the Vitality Women’s FA Cup. They did lose their Continental Cup crown to Manchester City in March, however, losing 3-1 to Manchester City at Plough Lane.
Chelsea enjoyed a fine double-winning campaign in which they battled some difficult off-field challenges to secure their silverware.
A Covid-19 outbreak mid-season along with injuries to key players made this Hayes’ most challenging season even before the club became subject to unique government restrictions following owner Roman Abramovich’s decision to sell Chelsea as a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine. Earlier this month, Hayes hailed her Chelsea side’s Women’s FA Cup triumph as “amazing for the women’s game” as they clinched a hard fought 3-2 win over City in front of a record crowd at Wembley.
Sam Kerr’s extra-time winner handed Chelsea their second trophy in a week, after they wrapped up the Women’s Super League title a week earlier. Speaking after completing the domestic double, Hayes said: “I will look back in 10 years’ time and think ‘that team was immense’, it’s the best team I’ve ever coached.
“I totally understand that we always want to talk about perfection in football, but to be on the winning side more often than not, let me tell you. It’s human endeavour.
“This group, they’re not going to be on the losing team. They’ll find a way.”
Liverpool’s Matt Beard won the Championship honour having guided his side back to the WSL at the first attempt following relegation in the 2020/21 season.
Hayes was at Grosvenor House in London on Tuesday evening at the LMA Awards dinner where she scooped the Barclays FA Women’s Super League manager of the year.
The ceremony celebrated the achievements of both the elite men’s and women’s managers and coaches with the winners of several other award categories also announced.
Forward Sam Kerr has been named FA WSL Player of the Season after a series of outstanding performances in Chelsea’s title triumph.
The Blues won the title by just a point having been taken to the final day of the season by Arsenal, and Kerr played a big role in their success.
Hayes’ side secured 18 wins, two draws and two defeats during their campaign – scoring 62 goals and conceding just 11.
Kerr won the WSL Golden Boot for the second season in a row after scoring 20 goals in 20 games, including two on the final day of the season to seal the WSL title.
The 28-year-old has already been named FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year and remains among the contenders for PFA Players’ Player of the Year, PFA Fans’ Player of the Year awards.
The Australia international notched 21 goals last term, but arguably her most important strikes in a Chelsea shirt came on the final day of this season as Chelsea beat Manchester United despite trailing on two occasions to see off title rivals Arsenal.
Kerr sealed Chelsea’s title-winning “destiny” with a pair of brilliant volleys, hammering a left-footed strike into the top corner to level the scores at 2-2 a minute after the break and later looped a volley past goalkeeper Mary Earps after controlling the ball with her chest.
Her second goal has been named Goal of the Season and Kerr told team-mate Erin Cuthbert how she would pull it off.
Kerr said: “Everyone thinks I was surprised at scoring that goal but I told Erin, ‘I’m going to score an unbelievable goal tomorrow, I’m going to chest it down and volley the ball’.
“I visualise, but I actually think today it both worked in my favour and not in my favour because I visualised too much in the first half and it wasn’t going my way and I felt tired, I felt nervous. And in the second half we just cleaned it straight.
“I actually visualised scoring crazy goals like that all the time. Guro headed it to me and I had a pop. I didn’t even know the goalkeeper was out.”