Sonia Bompastor has been named Chelsea’s new Head Coach after signing a four-year deal with the club.

The 43-year-old will begin her role at the beginning of July after a long-standing association with French Champions, Lyon. She arrives in West London with a long history of success in France both as a player and manager.

A former French international who made 156 appearances for her country, she played for Lyon across two stints winning six Division 1 Feminine titles and a Champions League. Upon retirement, she moved into management with Lyon’s Academy before being named manager of the Lyon senior team.

After three years, she led the French Champions to three more league titles and won the Champions League in the 2021-22 season. With that victory, she made history becoming the first person to win the UEFA Women’s Champions League as both a player and a manager.

It marks the start of a new era at Chelsea with the departure of Emma Hayes after 12 years along with five members of her backroom staff; Denise Reddy, Stuart Searle, Bart Caubergh, Ferdia O’Hanrahan and Cameron Meighan. It means there will be change behind the scenes too, with Bompastor bringing her assistants Camille Abily, another former French international, and Théo Rivrin with her.

“I am incredibly grateful to join Chelsea Football Club as the manager of the women’s team,” Bompastor said. “It is an institution in English football. I will give my all to this new project to meet the ambitions of the club, the staff and the players. I hope to live up to Emma’s legacy and continue the work that has been done in recent years. Let the adventure begin.”

Alongside this, Chelsea have unveiled their new long-term strategic plan to “cement our position as a leading force within the Barclays Women’s Super League and the global football community.” Over the summer, the women’s side will move into a new structure that sits alongside the men’s team. It will have dedicated resources, management and commercial leadership focused solely on the growth of Bompastor’s team. It is a move that will also allow for any new investment to be made without having to go through the men’s side, as was previously required.

“We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved as a club in the women’s game over many years now and, at this pivotal moment in the history of the sport, we want to take our work to the next level by unlocking the long-term potential of the team,” Commercial Director Zarah Al-Kudcy said. “Dedicated resources and facilities are precisely what women’s football needs and deserves to fulfil the enormous opportunities within the game. Further investment only underlines how seriously Chelsea values women’s football and the benefits of this will be seen in the many years to come.”

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