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Jill Ellis

by: San Diego NWSL


Jill Ellis: Leading the Way in Women’s Football



Early Life and Playing Career

Jillian Anne Ellis, born on September 6, 1966, is a prominent figure in the world of women’s football. Her journey began in Folkestone, England, where she grew up in Cowplain, a small village on the southern coast. Despite her natural athleticism and love for sports, organized football for girls was scarce in 1970s Britain. This did not deter her enthusiasm as she often joined her brother Paul to play with the boys, demonstrating her passion for the beautiful game.

Navigating a Nonexistent Path

Ellis’s path into football was unconventional. Her family relocated to the United States in 1981, allowing her to finally embrace organized football. She captained the Robinson Secondary School team in Fairfax, Virginia, leading them to the state championship in 1984. That same summer, she secured the under-19 national title with the Braddock Road Bluebelles, showcasing her early prowess on the pitch.

Continuing her journey as a forward, Ellis played for William & Mary from 1984 to 1987. Her outstanding performance on the field earned her the title of third-team All-American, and she tallied an impressive 32 goals during her four years at the institution.

Coaching and Administrative Achievements

Transitioning from a player to a coach, Ellis made an indelible mark in women’s football. Armed with a USSF Pro coaching license, she embarked on a journey that led her to numerous accomplishments. From multiple stints coaching under-20 and under-21 national teams to a successful tenure as the head coach of UCLA Bruins, Ellis demonstrated her ability to inspire and lead.

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Her coaching achievements extended to the national stage. She served as an assistant coach for the U.S. women’s national team, head coach for various women’s youth teams, and interim coach for the senior women’s national team in 2012. In May 2014, Ellis was appointed the permanent head coach of the United States women’s national team, a role she embraced with dedication and skill.

Consecutive Triumphs and Legacy

Ellis’s legacy reached its pinnacle during her tenure as head coach of the U.S. women’s national team. Her leadership guided the team to consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup victories in 2015 and 2019. Under her guidance, the team achieved remarkable feats, securing their place in history and setting a new world record for most goals in a tournament.

Beyond her coaching prowess, Ellis’s impact extended to the broader football community. She actively championed women’s involvement in coaching and worked towards increasing their representation. Her dedication earned her recognition, including the prestigious title of 2015 FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football.

A Life of Passion and Dedication

Jill Ellis’s journey from a young girl in England to a trailblazing football coach in the United States is a testament to her passion, dedication, and unwavering commitment to the sport. Through her coaching achievements and tireless efforts to promote women’s football, she has left an indelible mark on the sport’s landscape.

As an ambassador for the United States Soccer Federation, Ellis continues to inspire future generations, emphasizing the importance of empowerment, leadership, and equality in the world of women’s football. Her story serves as a beacon of inspiration for all who strive to make a difference in the beautiful game.

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