(May 16, 2014)-The President of the U.S. Soccer Federation promised a new coach for the U.S. Women’s national team by mid-May and he didn’t disappoint. President Sunil Gulati announced today that Jill Ellis would continue on at the helm of the national team with the interim tag being removed and Ellis tasked with the team on a full-time basis.
“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 in a statement today released by U.S. Soccer. “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.”
U.S. Soccer fired Tom Sermanni at the beginning of April after a dismal showing at the Algarve Cup in March. A 7th place finish combined with two back-to-back losses gave U.S. Soccer reason enough to end the contract of Sermanni that was less than a year and a half old.
For Ellis, it is the culmination of a storied coaching career that began with a short stint at the University of Illinois followed by twelve very successful years at UCLA. During her time at UCLA, Ellis also served as the coach of the Under 20 and 21 national teams while joining the senior team as an assistant coach in 2008. Ellis joined U.S. Soccer full-time when she took over the role of Developmental Director of the U.S. Women’s national teams in 2011.
Ellis served as the interim head coach after the 2012 London Olympics and quickly took herself out of the running for the head job. She cited bad timing and concerns for her family at the time.
The timing now however seems to be perfect for Ellis and she shared her sentiments via U.S. Soccer this afternoon.
“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, 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.”
Ellis has a little over a year until the FIFA Women’s World Cup begins in Canada and less than six months to get her team ready for qualification towards the World Cup. It is a task with enormous pressure as the U.S. Women are now fifteen years removed from their last World Cup victory.
It was also announced today that the CONCACAF Women’s Championship 2014, which serves as the qualifying tournament for the World Cup, will change venues. Originally slated to be hosted by Mexico, the tournament will be moved to the U.S. with dates and stadiums to be announced in June.