U.S. Soccer announced Jill Ellis as the new United States women’s national team coach on Friday. Ellis takes over as Tom Sermanni’s full-time replacement after serving as interim manager since his departure.
Ellis has been the interim manager of the U.S. twice, after Sermanni’s departure and after Pia Sundhage’s departure in 2012. She pulled herself out of the running for the job before Sermanni’s hire, but she declared her interest in becoming the new coach this time around.
Her head coaching experience includes collegiate stints at University of Illinois and UCLA, where she took the Bruins to the NCAA semifinals eight times. She led the U.S. Under-21 and Under-20 national teams during her time at UCLA, joining the federation full-time as development director for the women’s program in 2010.
Ellis has an undefeated record in her two tenures as interim coach, drawing Germany twice in October 2012 before rattling off five straight victories. She was also in charge of the U.S.’s 1-1 comeback draw against Canada on May 8.
"Jill has been on the bench for more senior and youth women's national team matches than perhaps any coach in United States history," U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said in a federation release. "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."
Tony Gustavsson was the other candidate widely understood to be in the final stages of interviewing for the job. Gustavsson is currently manager of Tyresö FF in Sweden, which will compete in the UEFA Women's Champions League final against Wolfsburg on May 22, and he was an assistant under Sundhage during the gold-medal run at the 2012 Olympics. Tony DiCicco, who led the U.S. to its World Cup title in 1999, also interviewed for the position. Ellis, 47, was born in Portsmouth, England, and moved to the U.S. at age 15. She holds a USSF “A” License, the highest available from the federation. She takes over the senior team in time for the CONCACAF Championship, which doubles as World Cup qualifying, in October.