August 5, 2015
REWARDING THE COACH
U.S. women's coach Jill Ellis gets contract extension
CHICAGO - The U.S. Soccer Federation announced Wednesday that it has agreed to a multi-year contract extension with Women's World Cup champion head coach Jill Ellis.
"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 head coach of the U.S. team on May 16, 2014, with five months to prepare for the CONCACAF Women's World Cup qualifying tournament and just more than a year to get ready for the Women's World Cup in Canada.
At the World Cup, Ellis navigated the U.S. team through what was considered the most difficult of the tournament's six groups, finishing atop the "Group of Death" before winning three tightly contested elimination games - all by shutout - to reach the final.
The Americans defeated Japan, 5-2, finding the net four times in the opening 16 minutes, including a hat-trick from Carli Lloyd, to shatter the record for most goals in a Women's World Cup final.
As the U.S. team heads into its 10-game Victory Tour this fall to celebrate its world title, Ellis has compiled a record of 29-2-9, which includes two stints as interim head coach (in 2012 and 2014).
"To watch our players achieve their dreams and continue to inspire fans across the country and the world was one of the most satisfying experiences of my coaching career," Ellis said in a statement. "Nothing is ever easy, and everything in this game is always earned, but I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to continue to work with these great players with the tremendous resources that U.S. Soccer dedicates to the women's game. We had a really exciting year, and we are looking forward to more exciting times ahead."
Ellis, an assistant for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medal-winning teams, will focus on the 10 matches in the fall as well as preparing the team for the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament slated to take place early next year.
"We are going to have some turnover on the National Team as we look towards the Olympics and the next Women's World Cup in France, but that's always part of the natural evolution," she said. "It will be the job of the players and staff to keep up the world-class level of effort and intensity to meet the high expectations of this program. It's a challenge we are all looking forward to."