US women’s coach Emma Hayes sidesteps equal pay question amid US men’s coaching buzz

U.S. women’s national team coach Emma Hayes sidestepped a question on whether she should get a raise if a high-priced star such as former Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp is hired to replace Gregg Berhalter with the U.S. men’s team.

Berhalter has a contract through the 2026 World Cup. U.S. Soccer Federation sporting director Matt Crocker has not spoken with media about Berhalter’s status since the team’s first-round elimination last week in the Copa América. 

However, the disappointing Copa América finish has resulted in numerous calls for the USSF to fire Berhalter on social media — including from prolific USMNT supporter groups — with several former U.S. stars also voicing their belief that the federation should make a change at men’s head coach. The USSF is set to make a final decision on whether to retain or dismiss Berhalter this week, sources told FOX Sports’ Doug McIntyre.

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“My focus today is on preparing our team for our training camp this week. I have to think about that and I have to think about performing first and foremost, myself with this team, this Olympics,” Hayes said at a news conference Monday with U.S. men’s Olympic coach Marko Mitrović. “I think with regards to matters relating to the men’s team and gender equity, they’re not questions for now or for me, knowing that my absolute focus is on the preparation this week.”

Hayes, voted FIFA’s Best Women’s Coach in 2021, managed Chelsea’s women’s side from 2012-24 before starting with the U.S. this spring.

Berhalter earned $2,291,136 in 2022, including $900,000 in bonuses for the Americans’ qualifying for the World Cup and reaching the knockout stage, according to the USSF’s 2022 tax filing.

Hayes’ predecessor as U.S. women’s coach, Vlatko Andonovski, had a base salary of $396,089 in 2002 and also earned $15,000 in bonuses. Andonovski quit last August after the Americans were eliminated in round of 16 at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup following back-to-back titles at the two previous World Cups.

At the time of Hayes’ hiring in November, the USSF said Hayes was set to become “the highest paid women’s soccer coach in the world.” Coach salaries typically are disclosed by the USSF when it releases its tax return each February for the fiscal year ending the prior March 31.

The USSF agreed in 2022 to equalize pay for players on the men’s and women’s national teams, but no such bylaw exists for coach salaries, per McIntyre.

USMNT Coaching Update with Doug McIntyre | FOX Soccer NOW

USMNT Coaching Update with Doug McIntyre | FOX Soccer NOW

Klopp left Liverpool this spring after nine seasons that included Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League titles. He reflected fondly on his Liverpool trips to the U.S. in a July 4 Instagram post, fueling outside speculation he may be interested in the USMNT job despite previously stating upon his Liverpool departure he would take a year off of coaching.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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