Jill Ellis: “The opportunity to coach this team and work with these amazing women has been the honor of a lifetime.”(Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
CHICAGO – Jill Ellis, who led the U.S. Women’s National Team to back-to-back Women’s World Cup titles in Canada (2015) and France (2019), will step down as head coach following the completion of the Victory Tour in early October, it was announced Tuesday.
“The opportunity to coach this team and work with these amazing women has been the honor of a lifetime,” Ellis said. “I want to thank and praise them for their commitment and passion to not only win championships but also raise the profile of this sport globally while being an inspiration to those who will follow them. I want to sincerely thank the world class coaches and staff with whom I’ve had the privilege to work – they are quintessential professionals and even better people. And finally, I want to thank the Federation for their support and investment in this program, as well as all the former players, coaches, and colleagues that have played an important role in this journey.”
Ellis will depart as the first coach in history to win two Women’s World Cups and currently has an overall record of 102-7-18.
“When I accepted the head coaching position this was the timeframe I envisioned,” Ellis said. “The timing is right to move on and the program is positioned to remain at the pinnacle of women’s soccer. Change is something I have always embraced in my life and for me and my family this is the right moment.”
While she steps away from the National Team, Ellis, 52, will continue on with U.S. Soccer for at least the next year in the role of an Ambassador, which will include representing the Federation at various events and speaking engagements.
“The U.S. Soccer Federation and the sport in general owes Jill a debt of gratitude,” said U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro. “Jill was always extremely passionate about this team, analytical, tremendously focused and not afraid to make tough decisions while giving her players the freedom to play to their strengths. She helped raise the bar for women’s soccer in the USA and the world, and given the history of this program, the level of success she achieved is even more remarkable.”
Ellis won eight tournaments during her time on the U.S. touchline: the 2015 Algarve Cup, the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, the 2016 SheBelieves Cup, the 2018 SheBelieves Cup, the 2018 Tournament of Nations, the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship and the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. During her time as head coach, both interim and officially, Ellis called up 79 players to take part in at least one training camp. Of those 79 players, 56 earned at least one cap. Ellis also gave 28 players their first caps.
Ellis was named the eighth head coach in U.S. Women’s National Team history on May 16, 2014, and a little under 13 months later, she led the USA to the title at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
Ellis navigated the 2015 World Cup Team through a much more difficult Women’s World Cup tournament as, for the first time, 24 teams competed to play the seven matches it took to win the competition. The team won six of those games, five by shutout, while tying Sweden in group play and allowed just three total goals. Ellis’ team set numerous records in defeating Japan, 5-2, to win the USA’s first World Cup title in 16 years.
At the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup the USA won all seven games – the last five against five of the best teams in Europe on European soil – to claim what was the most competitive Women’s World Cup title to date. Ellis and her staff used all 20 field players plus goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher to guide the team through what was perhaps the USA’s most difficult challenge ever – and arguably the greatest achievement in program history – to lift another World Cup trophy after an epic three-year journey since being knocked out of the 2016 Olympics.
At the end of 2015, Ellis was named the FIFA World Coach of the Year and Concacaf Coach of the Year for Women’s Soccer.
Ellis guided the U.S. team through unbeaten campaigns in 2018 (18-0-2) and 2016 (22-0-3), although 2016 featured the penalty kick loss to Sweden in the Olympics, which in part spurred Ellis to remake the squad into what was widely hailed as the best in the history of the sport when it downed the Netherlands, 2-0, in the 2019 World Cup Final in Lyon, France.
The victory in France was also a culmination for Ellis of 20 years spent in the service of the Women’s and Girls’ National Team programs at U.S. Soccer. Before becoming the USWNT head coach, Ellis served as the evelopment Director for U.S. Soccer, working with the Youth National Teams, and also served as assistant coach for the senior National Team, the head coach for the U.S. U-20 and U-21 WNTs, a scout for the WNT and the head coach for the U.S. U-16 GNT.
The naming of the first General Manager for the U.S. Women’s National Team will take place soon and then the search for a new USWNT head coach will commence. The new head coach will be the ninth official head coach in program history, following Mike Ryan, Anson Dorrance, Tony DiCicco, April Heinrichs, Greg Ryan, Pia Sundhage, Tom Sermanni and Jill Ellis.