Emma Hayes, the Coach of the Year in Division I women’s college soccer for the fourth time, is now not just the coach, but also a public voice in her sport.
Hayes, who helped take England to the 2013 World Cup final, started Sports for Equality, a campaign that uses sports to call attention to equal rights for women and men.
The campaign started with a Twitter contest, inviting fans to pick the hashtag and picture that most accurately represented the causes of equality. The winning choices were #AmazinFootball and #HeForShe.
In the following year, Hayes began partnering with media outlets, including Time magazine and Teen Vogue, to publicize the issue. In 2017, Fox Sports broadcasted the ESPYs with a Time cover featuring Haynes as the cover girl; she also posted a video from the ESPYs on Twitter.
She recently began appearing on television to talk about her cause.
“The biggest thing is maybe for that generation that doesn’t see it as a women’s issue,” she said. “The only way to change that is to make these issues real for that generation and make them know their daughters are going to inherit a greater level of equality in these sports.”
Many college football and men’s basketball teams are already supporting the cause. David Bailey, the director of ESPN’s men’s college basketball and men’s college football broadcasts, said that he has heard from more than 20 programs already.
“I can tell you there’s a great deal of enthusiasm,” he said. “You’ve got to be for diversity.”