The United States Women’s National team has named Jill Ellis as the new head coach, who served as interim coach after Tom Sermanni was fired in April. This will be the third head coach the USWNT has had in the last two years and the eighth head coach in the team’s history.
Currently ranked number one in FIFA’s Women’s World rankings, the team experienced success under previous coach Pia Sundhage who led the team to two Olympic gold medals and a second place finish in the 2011 FIFA World Cup.
US Soccer President Sunil Gulati is confident Ellis is a good fit for the job:
“In Jill we have someone who knows our program, who’s been extraordinarily successful and who has obviously coached the team very recently with success and are very very confident in her abilities to lead the team forward.”
Ellis will be stepping down in her current position as U.S. Soccer’s Women’s Development Director, a job she has had since 2011 to take over the team full time as they prepare to qualify for the 2015 World Cup in Canada. Ellis will continue to work closely with the new Technical Director April Heinrichs, and continue to play a part in USA’s youth soccer programs.
U.S. Soccer interviewed three candidates. One candidate was allegedly Tony DiCicco, the previous USWNT head coach who led the team to a World Cup title in 1999. The other hopeful was said to be Sundhage’s assistant during the 2012 Olympics, Tony Gustavsson.
Ellis has plenty of coaching experience, having served as Sundhage’s assistant head coach during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics then went on to coach the Under 21 and Under 20 teams. Ellis then led the USWNT to a win against China and a draw with Canada during her time as interim.
Recent struggles with Sermanni as coach saw the USWNT’s worst finish at the Agarve Cup, a tournament the Women’s National team has previously won nine times, with two losses in the group stage thus ending their 43-game win streak.
Ellis and the team do have an advantage in their first tournament together as the United States was chosen to host the CONCAF qualifying tournament this October, after moving it from Mexico for the 2015 World Cup.
“I love the fact that qualifiers are right around the corner… it does bring laser focus and I feel like I have a very good handle on the current core of players and just excited to bring them in,” Ellis said about the upcoming games in October.