U.S. Soccer Announces Participants for Inaugural SheChampions Coaching Mentorship Program, Presented by Volkswagen

Twenty-Three Female Coaching Candidates in Pro and “A” License Courses Benefit from Jill Ellis Scholarship Fund and Mentoring from Elite Women’s Soccer Coaches

CHICAGO (May 12, 2021)— The inaugural SheChampions Coaching Mentorship Program, presented by Volkswagen, has paired 23 female candidates in Pro and “A” license coaching courses with experienced mentors to guide them on their coaching journey. The group is among the first beneficiaries of the Jill Ellis Scholarship Fund, which covers 50% of tuition for female Pro, “A” and “B” License candidates.


The SheChampions Coaching initiative was developed by U.S. Soccer Coaching Education and former U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis. The scholarship fund and mentorship program serve as key drivers of the Federation’s efforts to double the number of elite professional female coaches by 2024.



“The SheChampions program has reenergized my sense of responsibility to dig in and support the extraordinary women that share a passion and have a gift for educating the next generation of players,” said mentor Amy Griffin, former USWNT goalkeeper, U.S. Deaf WNT head coach and OL Reign Academy Technical Director. “The program that Jill Ellis and (U.S. Soccer coach educator) Karla Thompson have established has been a great area of growth for me. The mentees are a truly impressive group, I look forward to continuing the relationships that we build and learning as I watch each of them navigate their own paths. It’s truly a blessing to see a group of women so committed to the players and the game.”


The list of mentors includes some of the country’s most accomplished women’s soccer coaches, including Ellis, a two-time Women’s World Cup champion, former USWNT head coach and National Soccer Hall of Fame members April Heinrichs and Anson Dorrance, U-23 USWNT head coach Matt Potter, U-20 USWNT head coach Laura Harvey as well as Griffin.


A full list of mentor-mentee pairings can be found below:





Laura Harvey, U-20 USWNT Head Coach

Twila Kaufman, Houston Dash Asst. Coach

James Clarkson, Houston Dash Head Coach

Tracey Kevins, U.S. U-17 WNT Head Coach


“A” Senior



Heather Dyche, Univeristy of New Mexico Head Coach

Rebecca Tweed, STA Coach

Erica Dambach, Penn State University Head Coach

Freya Coombe, NJ/NY Gotham FC Head Coach

Platini Soaf, West Coast FC Girls Technical Director

Kaitlin Okamoto, Salvo SC Coach

Matt Potter, U-23 USWNT Head Coach

Jasmine Mander, Canada WNT Performance Analyst

Heather Dyche, Heather Dyche, University of New Mexico Head Coach

Amy Lepeilbet, Former Utah Royals FC Asst. Coach

Karla Thompson, U.S. Soccer Coach Educator

Nikki Washington, University of Washington Asst. Coach

Lisa Cole, Antigua and Barbuda WNT Head Coach

Brandi Chastain, Santa Clara University Asst. Coach


“A” Youth



Jill Ellis, Former USWNT Head Coach

Emma Thomson, George Mason University Asst. Coach

April Heinrichs, Former USWNT Head Coach

Eloisa Borreguero, ASC San Diego Coach

Laura Harvey, U-20 USWNT Head Coach

Natalia Astrain, Kansas City NWSL Asst. Coach

Michele Nagamine, University of Hawaii Head Coach

Ronnie Woodard, Tennessee SC Director of Membership Services & Community Relations

Sue Ryan, Stony Brook University Head Coach

Nicole Lukic, Wisconsin-La Crosse Asst. Coach

Missy Price, Wellesley College Head Coach

Nicole Brower, Loudoun Soccer Head Coach

Jenn Klein, University of Michigan Head Coach

Sarah Fawcett, 24-7 UK Soccer Academy Coach

Tina Ellertson, University of Washington Asst. Coach

Angelina Pane, University of Dallas Head Coach

Janet Rayfield, University of Illinois Head Coach

Meghan Frey, Long Island SC Girls Academy Director

Anson Dorrance, University of North Carolina Head Coach

Katie Schoepfer, College of the Holy Cross Asst. Coach

Amy Griffin, OL Reign Academy Technical Director

Lindsey Johnson, Arizona SC Director of Coaching

Lesle Gallimore, Girls Academy Commissioner[MB1]

Jessica Nash, Rush Wisconsin Soccer Club Director of Coaching

Keidane McAlpine, University of Southern California Head Coach

Katrin Kaarna, Rush New York Select Asst. Director of Coaching

Lauren Gregg, Former Head Coach University of Virginia & WNT Asst. Coach

Liz Lima, South Shore Select Director


Mentors conduct monthly virtual check-ins with their mentees and are available for questions and guidance throughout the duration of the courses. The entire pool of mentors and mentees will also come together for a SheChampions Coaching event to build community and connection, at which time the COVID-19 pandemic allows. This year’s event will be hosted virtually to safeguard the health of all participants.


The Pro, A-Senior and A-Youth course are the three final courses in the U.S. Soccer Coaching Education pathway. The year-long Pro License is the highest soccer license recognized in the United States and prepares candidates to work as a professional coach in a professional environment, while the A-Senior and A-Youth courses run for 10 months and prepare candidates to work in high-performance environments.


The next “A-Youth” and “B” License course application windows will be open May 5-19. Interested candidates who meet the course prerequisites can apply in the U.S. Soccer Learning Center. In the future, the SheChampions Coaching Mentorship program may expand to include select female candidates in “B” License courses.


Both the Jill Ellis Scholarship Fund and the SheChampions Coaching Mentorship Program were introduced in fall 2020, roughly one year after Ellis finished her tenure with the USWNT as the most successful coach in the history of women’s international soccer.  The U.S. Soccer Board of Directors voted to establish the scholarship fund to support, honor and celebrate her extraordinary legacy. The SheChampions Coaching program was also inspired by Ellis’ passion for mentorship and follows the ideals of the SheBelieves movement to inspire young women and girls to reach their dreams.


Together, the two programs create an opportunity for a culture shift in the coaching industry, helping to grow the sport by investing in and supporting more female coaches. U.S. Soccer aims to empower women in coaching across the country as well as inspire the next generation of female players and coaches through critical representation in the sport. The goals of the SheChampions Coaching Mentorship Program and Jill Ellis Scholarship Fund include:


  • Eroding financial barriers for women participating in higher coaching education.

  • Creating meaningful support, advocates and resources for individual female coaching candidates through their mentorship program.

  • Developing a community of professional female coaches.

  • Showcasing examples of top-quality female coaches as models for other women by promoting the program.

  • Elevating important conversations about diversity in the soccer community by promoting the programs.



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