Hayes focused on Olympics, not equal pay talk

United States women’s coach Emma Hayes sidestepped a question on whether she should get a raise if a high-priced star such as Jürgen Klopp was hired to replace Gregg Berhalter with the American men.

Berhalter has a contract through the 2026 World Cup and 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.

Sources told ESPN that a decision on Berhalter’s future would be revealed sometime this week.

“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 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 second round, 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 20022 and also earned $15,000 in bonuses. Andonovski quit last August after the Americans were eliminated in the second round of the Women’s World Cup.

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.

Klopp left Liverpool this spring after nine seasons that included Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League titles.

U.S. captain Lindsey Horan said at the same news conference that, with young talent hungry to top the podium in Paris, this American team under Hayes was eager to do better than settle for bronze as it did at the Tokyo Games three years ago.

“After the World Cup, we really regrouped,” Horan said. “You look at the young players coming in, the leaders on this team, you know, just [a] big mesh of what we have. I think what you’re going to see and what’s in store for us is incredible.”

The team will rely an array of new faces, with just eight members of the Tokyo team traveling to Paris on the 18-player Olympic roster.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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