Interim tag removed as Jill Ellis named eighth head coach in U.S. women's national team history
The most decorated group of players in U.S. Soccer have a new boss.
On Friday, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati named Jill Ellis as the eighth head coach in US women's national team history, shedding the interim tag she held since Tom Sermanni was fired in April.
Ellis, 47, has experience coaching at every level of the U.S. women's national team program and was an assistant on the 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medal-winning squads. She has served as interim head coach on two different occasions, including the USWNT's two most recent matches, and officially starts the job with an all-time record of 6-0-3.
"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. "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."
Ellis will step back from her post as U.S. Soccer's women's development director, which she has held since January 2011 and in which she oversaw the U.S. U-14, U-15 and U-17 teams. She will still work closely with women's technical director April Heinrichs to help guide the US youth programs.
She also served two stints as head coach of the U.S. U-20 team, guiding the squad to the CONCACAF title and to the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Germany in 2010. She has previously coached almost every player in the current US pool.
"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," said Ellis in a statement. "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. Finally, I want to thank my father who ignited my passion for this game and who inspired me to be a coach."
Ellis' first matches as the official head coach will come on June 14 and 19 against fourth-ranked France in Tampa, Florida, and East Hartford, Connecticut, respectively. Her first major tournament will come on home soil as U.S. Soccer has been selected to host the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.
The eight-team qualifying tournament, which will send three teams to Canada and the fourth-place finisher into a playoff with a country from South America, will be played in October.