U.S. Women’s National Team: Head Coach
Jill Ellis was named the eighth head coach in U.S. Women’s National Team history on May 16, 2014. Just a little under 13 months later, she led the USA to the championship of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She signed a multi-year contract extension on Aug. 5, 2015.
Ellis’ 2015 Women’s World Cup Team navigated the most difficult Women’s World Cup tournament to date as 24 teams competed to play the seven matches it would take to win the competition, all on artificial turf. The team won six of those games, five by shutout, while tying Sweden in group play and allowed just three total goals. Ellis and her staff made several key tactical adjustments in the knockout rounds to help the U.S. make the final, where it set numerous records in defeating Japan, 5-2, to win the USA’s first World Cup title in 16 years.
At the end of 2015, along with a slew of other honors, Ellis was named the CONCACAF Female Coach of the Year and the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Soccer, marking the first time an American had been bestowed with that honor. She was also named the CONCACAF Female Coach of the Year. During 2015, the USA went 20-2-4 and also won the prestigious Algarve Cup in Portugal.
Ellis led the USA to 22-0-3 record in 2016, marking just the third time the USA had gone unbeaten in regulation time in a year in which it had played 10 or more matches. The USA hosted the inaugural SheBelieves Cup in March, winning the tournament that featured four of the top teams in the world in the USA, German, France and England. The USA earned 17 shutouts during the year and gave up more than one goal in a game just twice, but a penalty kick loss to Sweden in the quarterfinal of the 2016 Olympics (a match in which the USA had a 27-6 shot margin) ended the USA’s gold medal aspirations.
Through the end of 2016, Ellis had compiled a record of 58-3-13 and earned her 50th WNT win on July 22, 2016 in a 2-0 win against Costa Rica.
Ellis took the position as head coach of the National Team after serving as Development Director for the U.S. Women’s National Teams since January of 2011. She has continued to work with U.S. Soccer Women’s Technical Director April Heinrichs on the guidance of the USA’s youth national teams.
The appointment of Ellis and Heinrichs to the youth development positions in 2011 marked the first time U.S. Soccer had named full-time coaches to oversee the women’s youth national team program and the programs’ overall development.
Prior to becoming head coach of the U.S. WNT, Ellis twice served as interim head coach for the team. The first time was for a seven-game stint (5-0-2) in 2012 after Pia Sundhage left the program and before the hiring of Tom Sermanni, and then again in 2014 for two matches (1-0-1) after Sermanni was relieved of his duties and before she was officially named the head coach.
Prior to being named head coach, Ellis accrued extensive experience in the U.S. Women’s National Team programs having served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team under Sundhage and helped the team to a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics. Ellis has served two stints as head coach of the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team, guiding the squad to the CONCACAF title in 2010 and to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Germany.
She joined the full Women’s National Team staff in January of 2008 after leaving her post with the U.S. U-20s, which she had led the since the start of 2007.
Ellis has also had two stints as the head coach of the U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team, the second starting in the middle of 2005, after which she guided the team to the Nordic Cup in Sweden. She also coached the U-21s to the Nordic Cup title in Germany in 2000.
Ellis was also a scout for the USA at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, and has served as an assistant coach with the U.S. U-21s and U.S. U-16 Girls’ National Teams.
Ellis joins U.S. Soccer full-time after a highly successful 12-year run as the head women’s soccer coach for the UCLA Bruins. Ellis led UCLA to eight NCAA Final Fours, including seven in a row from 2003-2009, and won six straight conference titles from 2003-2008. She finished her time in Westwood with a record of 229-45-14. Ellis, who was also head coach at the University of Illinois, has an all-time collegiate coaching record of 248-63-14.
She was the 2000 NSCAA National Coach of the Year after leading the Bruins to the NCAA Final in just her second season as head coach.
Ellis arrived in Westwood after heading the University of Illinois women’s soccer program for two years. In 1998, she brought the Fighting Illini to a 12-8 record and a first-ever Big-Ten Tournament berth. Prior to coaching at Illinois, Ellis served as an assistant coach at the University of Virginia for one year (1996-97), at Maryland for three years (1994-96) and at North Carolina State for another three years (1988-90). As an assistant coach at North Carolina State, Ellis helped the Wolfpack secure the 1988 ACC title and an NCAA Final Four appearance.
A forward during her playing days at the College of William & Mary from 1984-87, Ellis was a Third- Team All-American in 1987. Ellis gave the graduation commencement speech at her alma mater in May of 2016. In 1984, Ellis helped Braddock Road in Virginia to the Under-19 club national championship.
Ellis grew up in Portsmouth, England and came to the United States in 1981 at the age of 15. She also lived in Singapore for two years while her father helped to develop a national soccer program in that country. She earned her B.A. in English Literature and Composition from the College of William & Mary in 1988 and currently resides in Miami with her wife Betsy and 11-year-old daughter Lily.
She has a USSF “A” coaching license and is currently a candidate in the second edition of the U.S. Soccer Pro Course. She is the only woman among the 17 coaches in the year-long course.
Assistant Coach - Tony Gustavsson
Assistant Coach - Steve Swanson
Goalkeeper Coach - Graeme Abel
Strength & Fitness Coach - Dawn Scott