USWNT coach Jill Ellis agrees to new multi-year contract
U.S. women's national team coach Jill Ellis has agreed to a new multi-year contract to stay in charge of the team, reports the Washington Post.
Ellis recently led the USWNT to its first World Cup title since 1999.
While contract details are not yet available, the Post reports that Ellis is expected to be coach of the team at the 2019 World Cup in France and “perhaps” the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. U.S. Soccer confirmed the extension Wednesday morning.
“When we hired Jill, we all knew the great challenge that was ahead of her and the team,” U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said in a statement. “She met that challenge with tremendous passion and knowledge to win what was perhaps the most difficult Women's World Cup tournament in history. As we look towards the Rio Olympics and build towards the 2019 World Cup in France, we think Jill is the ideal person to lead the next generation of the women's national team.”
The 48-year-old Ellis took over as interim USWNT coach in April 2014 following the firing of Tom Sermanni. It was Ellis’s second interim stint with the United States, as she previously held the job in 2012 before Sermanni replaced Pia Sundhage, who had stepped down to lead her native Sweden. In May 2014, Ellis’ position as head coach was made permanent.
Ellis previously served as head coach of the U.S. women’s Under-20 and Under-21 national teams.
Earlier in the World Cup, Ellis drew criticism, including from ex-USA star Michelle Akers. A pair of yellow card suspensions led to Ellis making changes in the midfield, resulting in a U.S. offense that scored eight goals in its final three games.
The U.S. won the 2015 Women’s World Cup with a 5–2 victory over Japan in the final. The team's next big competition will be at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The U.S. women will look to win their fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal. The team has never won the FIFA Women's World Cup and Olympics in back-to-back years.
The U.S. will have to qualify for the Rio Games at the 2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship in Jan.
- Molly Geary and Christopher Chavez