Chelsea women's soccer coach, player at disconnect regarding romantic relationships between teammates

Chelsea women's soccer coach, player at disconnect regarding romantic relationships between teammates

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In women’s soccer, it is not uncommon to see teammates date one another.

United States Women’s National Team members Ali Kreiger and Ashlyn Harris were actually married for four years before beginning to divorce last year.

Overseas, Chelsea FC Women’s teammates Jess Carter and Ann-Katrin Berger are in a relationship.

However, their manager, Emma Hayes, disapproves.

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Emma Hayes, manager of Chelsea, gives instructions during the Barclays FA Women’s Super League match against Aston Villa Women at Kingsmeadow on March 28, 2021 in Kingston upon Thames, England. (Catherine Ivill – The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

“Player-coach relationships, they’re inappropriate, player-to-player relationships are inappropriate…” Hayes said earlier this week.

“One player’s in the team, one’s not in the team, one might be in the last year of their contract, one might not be. We all know, those of us that have been in the women’s game for a long period of time, those things have been happening in dressing rooms. Longer term, it would be ideal… where you don’t have to deal with that.”

Carter, of course, caught wind of those comments, and wasn’t a fan. She liked a series of posts on X, formerly Twitter, that criticized Hayes, soon-to-be the manager of the USWNT.

“You don’t have to justify what Emma said btw, it’s a flawed answer no matter how you spin it. There’s a fundamental difference between player-player and player-coach relationships and that’s imbalance of power. She could’ve said anything but that,” one liked-post read.

Ann-Katrin Berger and Jess Carter

Chelsea’s Ann-Katrin Berger, left, and Jess Carter pose with the league trophy after the Barclays Women’s Super League match at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, Reading, on May 27, 2023. (Nigel French/PA Images via Getty Images)

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“[I]f I seriously thought player x player relationships were inappropriate, I probably wouldn’t have signed the well known girlfriend of my club captain for a world-record fee,” said another.

After Carter’s likes made the rounds, Hayes revealed that the two had a one-on-one talk, and she addressed the rest of her players.

Hayes, via ESPN, said she “let myself down” with her original comments, but added she does not “take those things back.”

However, “even if we have disagreements in life, we mustn’t play them out publicly.” Hayes cited how the players came together for a hard-fought 3-1 win on Friday that shows disagreements don’t have to result in negativity on the pitch.

Jess Carter and Emma Hayes hug

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes celebrates with Jess Carter during the UEFA Women’s Euro England final match against Germany at Wembley Stadium on July 31, 2022, in London. (Getty Images)

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“We must have them conversations with each other but it’s an important thing you must do in a workplace and everybody understands and I think you saw from the performance tonight that everybody is absolutely invested in what we are doing.”

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