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Jill Ellis named U.S. women's national team head coach

Jill Ellis (Kent Horner/Getty Images) Jill Ellis spent 12 seasons coaching at UCLA, where she won six straight Pac-12 titles. (Kent Horner/Getty Images)

Jill Ellis was named the eighth head coach in U.S. women's national soccer team history on Friday by U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati.

Ellis had served as interim coach since Tom Sermanni was fired on April 6. She led the team to a 3-0 win over China on April 10 and a 1-1 tie against Canada last week in Winnipeg. The team went 0-2-1 in the Algarve Cup in March under Sermanni.

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“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. “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.”

The 47-year-old was an assistant on the 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medal winning teams. Her recent stint as interim coach was the second time she's served in that role. As interim coach, she has compiled a 6-0-3 record.

“It’s a huge honor,” Ellis said. “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' first matches as head coach will come on June 14 and 19 against France, the fourth-ranked team in the world. They will be played in Tampa and East Hartford, Conn.

Her first major tournament will be the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the 2015 World Cup. The eight-team tournament will be played in the U.S. in October.

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