U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati named Jill Ellis as the eighth head coach in U.S. Women’s National Team history.
Ellis, 47, has experience coaching at every level of the U.S. Women’s National Team program and was an assistant on the 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medal-winning squads. She has served as interim head coach on two different occasions, including the two most recent matches, and officially starts the job with an all-time record of 6-0-3.
“Jill has been on the bench for more senior and Youth Women’s National Team matches than perhaps any coach in United States history,” Gulati said. “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 will step back from her post as U.S. Soccer’s Women’s Development Director, which she has held since January of 2011 and in which she oversaw the U.S. Under-14 and Under-15 Girls’ and Under-17 Women’s National Teams. She will still work closely with U.S. Soccer Women’s Technical Director April Heinrichs to help guide the USA’s youth programs.
“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,” said Ellis. “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.”
Ellis’ first matches as the official head coach will come on June 14 and 19 against fourth-ranked France in Tampa, Florida, and East Hartford, Connecticut, respectively. Her first major tournament will come on home soil as U.S. Soccer has been selected to host the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The eight-team qualifying tournament, which will send three teams to Canada and the fourth-place finisher into a playoff with a country from South America, will be played in October. The format, schedule, venues and ticket information will be announced as the information becomes available.
Ellis served two stints as head coach of the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team, guiding the squad to the CONCACAF title and to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Germany in 2010. While working for U.S. Soccer on the Youth National Team levels, she has previously coached almost every player in the current U.S. Women’s National Team pool.
- 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.