U.S. women’s national team coach Jill Ellis won World Cup 2015, but multiple sources say veteran players on the team went to then-federation-president Sunil Gulati at the Tournament of Nations in Seattle one year ago and told him they had deep concerns about the direction of the team under Ellis—and that if those concerns weren’t addressed they wanted a new coach.
The players had specific issues with what they felt was Ellis’s lack of communication off the field and the team’s declining performances on the field since the World Cup. I’m told that Gulati responded to the team in December (with Ellis in the room) that Ellis wasn’t going anywhere before the World Cup, and now new president Carlos Cordeiro has kept Ellis in charge.
Keep in mind, U.S. player revolts have happened before. Ellis got the U.S. job in 2014 after one had led to the ouster of Tom Sermanni, and previous coaches Greg Ryan and April Heinrichs faced similar situations.
Elsewhere in U.S. women's national team news:
Women's GM Position Is Up for Grabs
Earlier this year, U.S. Soccer created new general manager positions on the men’s and women’s sides. The men’s position has been filled with Earnie Stewart, and I’m told the women’s GM position is now expected to be filled by October or November.
At one point, U.S. Soccer was considering waiting until after the women’s World Cup to name a women’s GM, but there was some internal pushback from the board, some of whose members thought the federation was doing too much to protect Ellis. But after some internal pressure it was decided the position will be named sooner rather than later, and it is set to be a publicly posted job opening to cast as wide a net as possible.
Hinkle Gets Cut After Accepting Most Recent Call-Up
Left back Jaelene Hinkle was called up for the current U.S. camp before being cut this week as the roster was reduced to 23 players. It was the first time Hinkle had been brought in since she turned down a call-up on religious grounds, saying she wasn’t able to support the LGBT community by wearing a rainbow number with the U.S. team. Hinkle’s call-up this time was met with criticism from parts of the U.S. fanbase, which includes significant numbers of LGBT fans, but sources on the U.S. players' side say that they didn’t have any significant issues with Hinkle’s inclusion and that they were most concerned by the online bullying that Hinkle was receiving.
U.S. Soccer said Hinkle was cut from the roster for performance reasons.