CHICAGO (Aug. 5, 2015) – The U.S. Soccer Federation has agreed to a multi-year contract extension with 2015 Women’s World Cup champion head coach Jill Ellis.
“When we hired Jill, we all knew the great challenge that was ahead of her and the team,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “She met that challenge with tremendous passion and knowledge to win what was perhaps the most difficult Women’s World Cup tournament in history. As we look towards the Rio Olympics and build towards the 2019 World Cup in France, we think Jill is the ideal person to lead the next generation of the Women’s National Team.”
Ellis, 48, took over as head coach of the U.S. team on May 16, 2014, with five months to prepare for the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying tournament and just more than a year to get ready for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
At the Women’s World Cup, Ellis navigated the U.S. team through what was considered the most difficult of the tournament’s six groups, finishing atop the “Group of Death” before winning three tightly contested elimination games – all by shutout – to make the Final.
In the epic championship game in Vancouver, the U.S. team defeated Japan by a 5-2 score, finding the net four times in the first 16 minutes, including a hat trick from Carli Lloyd, to obliterate the record for most goals in a Women’s World Cup Final.
As the U.S. team heads into its 10-game Victory Tour this fall to celebrate its world title, Ellis has compiled an overall record of 29-2-9, which includes two stints as interim head coach (in 2012 and 2014).
“To watch our players achieve their dreams and continue to inspire fans across the country and the world was one of the most satisfying experiences of my coaching career,” said Ellis. “Nothing is ever easy, and everything in this game is always earned, but I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to continue to work with these great players with the tremendous resources that U.S. Soccer dedicates to the women’s game. We had a really exciting year, and we are looking forward to more exciting times ahead.”
Ellis, who was an assistant for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medal-winning squads, will now focus on the 10 matches in the fall as well as preparing the team for the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament slated to take place early in 2016.
“We are going to have some turnover on the National Team as we look towards the Olympics and the next Women’s World Cup in France, but that’s always part of the natural evolution,” said Ellis. “It will be the job of the players and staff to keep up the world-class level of effort and intensity to meet the high expectations of this program. It’s a challenge we are all looking forward to.”
The first four matches of the U.S. Women’s National Team Victory Tour have been announced with record sales thus far. The tour begins on Aug. 16 against Costa Rica at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh (1:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1). More than 39,000 tickets have been sold for that match. Three days later, the USA will play Costa Rica at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Aug. 19 (6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2). That match is sold out, with over 20,000 fans expected to attend.
The USA will then face its Women’s World Cup opening match opponent and eventual quarterfinalist Australia on Sept. 17 at Ford Field in Detroit (7 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1) followed by a match on Sept. 20 at historic Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama (2 p.m. CT on ESPN2). More than 22,000 tickets have been sold for each of the matches.
- Since winning the Women’s World Cup, the USA has regained the top spot in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings.
- Ellis has a long history coaching in the U.S. Women’s National Team programs. She 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.
- 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 (which she left to take the job as head coach of the U.S. WNT in 2014) 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.
- Ellis is the eighth head coach in U.S. Women’s National Team history. The seven coaches that preceded her were Mike Ryan (1985), Anson Dorrance (1986-1994), Tony DiCicco (1994-1999), April Heinrichs (2000-2004), Greg Ryan (2005-2007), Pia Sundhage (2008-2012) and Tom Sermanni (2012-2014).