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May 16, 2014 at 12:03 PM

U.S. Soccer names Jill Ellis head coach of the women’s national team

The wait is over. U.S. Soccer has named its new head coach of the women’s national team, and it’s the same coach who has been in charge the past few months on an interim basis: Jill Ellis.

Ellis, 47, had been leading the team since Tom Sermanni was fired earlier this year. She becomes the eighth coach in USWNT history and starts the job with a 6-0-3 record from two stints as interim coach.

“Jill has been on the bench for more senior and Youth Women’s National Team matches than perhaps any coach in United States history,” said U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati in a news release. “She has worked at this for many years and has tremendous knowledge of our player pool and the qualities of multiple generations of players.

“We are confident she is the best person to find the right combinations on the field to make us successful in World Cup qualifying and beyond. She has experienced first-hand the growth of women’s soccer worldwide and is uniquely positioned to lead our team to an even higher level.”

Ellis was an assistant coach in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic teams, both of which won gold. She will no longer be women’s development director for U.S. Soccer, a role she had hold since January of 2011.

“First, I would like to sincerely thank U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati and U.S. Soccer Secretary General/CEO Dan Flynn for this amazing opportunity. It’s a huge honor,” Ellis said in the release. “I also want to acknowledge all the past players and coaches that have built a rich tradition and legacy for this team. I’m humbled and proud to lead the current generation of players toward the ultimate goal, a FIFA World Cup championship. Finally, I want to thank my father who ignited my passion for this game and who inspired me to be a coach.”

In some other news, U.S. Soccer has been selected at host for the CONCACAF qualifying tournament ahead of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup (details of which will be announced at a future date).

The USWNT’s next games are at home June 14 and 19 against France.

Here are some more notes from the release:

  • Ellis follows Mike Ryan (1985), Anson Dorrance (1986-1994), Tony DiCicco (1994-1999), April Heinrichs (2000-2004), Greg Ryan (2005-2007), Pia Sundhage (2008-2011) and Tom Sermanni (2012-2014) as official coaches of the U.S. Women’s National Team, which has been ranked No. 1 in the world since winning the 2008 Olympic gold medal in Beijing, China.
  • She earned her USSF “A” coaching license in January of 1996.
  • Ellis also served two stints as the head coach of the U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team, the second starting in the middle of 2005, after which she guided the team to the Nordic Cup in Sweden.
  • Ellis coached the U-21s to the Nordic Cup title in Germany in 2000.
  • She was a scout for the USA at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
  • Ellis took the position as U.S. Soccer Women’s Development Director in January of 2011 after a highly successful 12-year run as the head women’s soccer coach for the UCLA Bruins. She led UCLA to eight NCAA Final Fours, including seven in a row from 2003-2009, and won six straight conference titles from 2003-2008. She finished her time in Westwood with a record of 229-45-14.
  • She was also head coach at the University of Illinois and coached more than 300 Division I matches as a college coach. She has an all-time collegiate coaching record of 248-63-14.
  • Ellis grew up in Portsmouth, England, and came to the United States in 1981 at the age of 15. She also lived in Singapore for two years while her father, John, who was an assistant coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2000, helped to develop a national soccer program in that country.
  • A forward during her playing days at the College of William & Mary from 1984-87, Ellis was a Third-Team All-American in 1987.
  • In 1984, Ellis helped Virginia’s Braddock Road to the Under-19 club national championship.
  • She earned her B.A. in English Literature and Composition from the College of William & Mary in 1988.


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