Ellis named coach of US women’s soccer team

Jill Ellis has been named the U.S. national team coach in the run-up to the women’s World Cup next year in Canada.

Ellis has been the interim coach since Tom Sermanni was surprisingly dismissed in early April after an exhibition victory against China.

It was Ellis’ second stint as an interim coach with the team; she also took over when previous head coach Pia Sundhage resigned in 2012 to become head coach of Sweden’s national team. Ellis has a 6-0-3 record overall as the team’s interim coach.

Ellis was an assistant to both Sermanni and Sundhage. She was on the staff of the gold medal-winning U.S. teams at the Beijing and London Olympics.

The 47-year-old coach, who is well respected among national team players, has had a lengthy coaching career, including 12 seasons at UCLA.

“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 statement announcing Ellis’ appointment. “She has worked at this for many years and has tremendous knowledge of our player pool and the qualities of multiple generations of players.”

The U.S. women’s team next plays a pair of exhibition matches against France in Tampa, Florida, and East Harford, Connecticut, in mid-June.

“I’m humbled and proud to lead the current generation of players toward the ultimate goal, a FIFA World Cup championship,” Ellis said.

Sermanni helped the U.S. to a 13-0-3 record last year, but the Americans went 1-2-1 at the Algarve Cup in March, the last major tournament for the U.S. before World Cup qualifying this fall.

The seventh-place Algarve Cup finish included a 1-0 loss to Sweden and Sundhage, ending a two-year, 43-game unbeaten streak. That was the first loss following a 16-0-4 start under Sermanni.

Ellis will step down from her position as U.S. Soccer women’s development director now that she is head coach, the organization said.

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