Long-time U.S. Soccer coach Jill Ellis was named eighth-ever head coach of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team, with a mission to win World Cup 2015, on Friday. The United States has been ranked No. 1 in the world since winning the 2008 Olympic gold medal in Beijing, China. While working on the Youth National Team levels over the years, Ellis has 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 head coach of the USWNT. Sermanni was relieved of the position on April 7.
Ellis' first matches will be on June 14 and 19 against fourth-ranked France in Tampa, Florida, and East Hartford, Connecticut. Her first major tournament be the October U.S.-based CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Ellis, 47, was an assistant on the 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medal-winning USWNT squads and 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. Since January, 2011, Ellis has served as U.S. Soccer's Women's Development Director and also oversaw the U.S. U-14 and U-15 Girls' and U-17 Women's National Teams. Ellis will continue to work with Technical Director April Heinrichs to guide the USA's youth programs.
Ellis, who holds a USSF "A" coaching license, also 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. Ellis also served two stints as the head coach of the U.S. Under-21 Women's National Team and 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 successful 12-year run as the head women's soccer coach for the UCLA Bruins. She led UCLA to eight NCAA Final Fours and won six straight conference titles from 2003-2008, finishing 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. She played as a forward at the College of William & Mary from 1984-87.