Emotional Ellis ends ‘unbelievable journey’
Jill Ellis fought back tears as she reflected on her “unbelievable journey” as head coach of the United States women’s football team.
The 53-year-old, Portsmouthborn coach has stepped down after becoming only the second person to win consecutive World Cups, male or female, and the first in the women’s game.
“It’s a story written, and it’s a chapter closed, and it’s on to other things. It’s been an unbelievable journey,” she said.
“It’s been the most rewarding job I’ve ever had, the hardest job I’ve ever had. I’ve enjoyed this and I’m ready for what’s next.”
Ellis announced her retirement in July after the World Cup but said she would remain in charge for the team’s “Victory Tour”.
Her final match, on Sunday, ended 1-1 against South Korea in Chicago. Chelsea’s Ji So-yun scored for South Korea after 34 minutes before US captain Carli Lloyd equalised three minutes later.
Victory in Ellis’s penultimate match, against the same opponents last Thursday, meant she overtook the late Tony Dicicco for the most wins of any US women’s national team coach.
Ellis, who was named Women’s Coach of the Year at this year’s Best Fifa Football Awards, won 106 of her 132 games in charge.
In 20015, just a year after being appointed, Ellis helped the US to their first World Cup trophy in 16 years. Her team repeated the feat in
Triumphant era: Jill Ellis took over in 2014 and led the US to successive World Cup wins
France in July. The US averaged 3.1 goals per game under Ellis, won eight tournaments and never lost a game in a World Cup.
But Ellis said it was the people, not the results, that were most important to her: “I think that’s been the best part of this job, building relationships. I’m not going to remember games so much as I’m going to remember all these people that helped me get where I am.”
Ellis’s replacement has not been named. Tony Gustavsson, her assistant coach, is also stepping down after eight years, leaving the search open ahead of the 2020 Olympics.
England manager Phil Neville has dismissed reports linking him to the job. Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro has also been touted but he has a long-term contract with his club, the Women’s Super League champions.
Ellis will continue to work with the US as an ambassador for at least a year.