Chicago, Illinois — Jill Ellis has been part of the U.S. Soccer system for over a decade. It’s a program that is essentially in her blood. A two-time World Cup winning head coach, Ellis ended her tenure as women’s national team manager.
Ellis took over the role in 2014, after serving in a second interim role. Ellis proved that she knew what she was doing with the team, while fans might have shrieked at roster moves. The manager moved pieces around, including putting Crystal Dunn at defender.
However, Ellis will now leave those decisions into the hands of someone else. After winning her second World Cup, Ellis announced she would resign. Names are being tossed around — including Reign FC coach Vlatko Andonovski and Utah Royals manager Laura Harvey. But, on Sunday, the final friendly of Ellis’ USWNT career was all about her.
South Korea scored the first goal, but the United States bounced back. Ji Soyun was causing havoc for Alyssa Naeher and company and slotted the 34th minute opener on a low strike. However, three minutes later, Carli Lloyd smashed a header past goalkeeper Kang Ga-ae.
Lloyd almost found the game-winner in stoppage time. However, an assistant referee whistled that Mallory Pugh, who helped on the play, was offside. The United States had other chances, including Julie Ertz smashing the post and a Jess McDonald header off the crossbar.
Ellis’ final match as the USWNT manager ended in a 1-1 draw. After the match, during her post-game remarks, Ellis welled up with emotions.
“I’ve talked a lot about how it’s really about emotions and that’s why you do what you do, so those last 20 minutes was fun-filled, exciting and on the edge of your seat,” Ellis said. “It epitomized what this team is about, always fighting until the end… We want to play well, but we want to entertain. I think the fans got a pretty thrilling 20 minutes of that game.”
— #ThankYouJill (@USWNT) October 6, 2019
Jill Ellis goes out on top
Ellis is the winningest coach in USWNT history. She passed up the legendary, late Tony DiCicco for most wins, securing her 106th win in Charlotte against South Korea last Thursday.
Ellis finished her national team career with a 106-7-19.
“It never honestly was about a number,” Ellis said. “I’m privileged to have done this job for so long and played so many games. It’s been an honor. The numbers and all that fade away. It’s about the players, the staff, the people… I’ve got a trunk full of memories from this for sure — and it’s been fantastic.”
Ellis also reached out to the media, thanking the members for covering of women’s soccer. She pleaded with them to keep traveling to games and cover the sport.
“Keep making our sport great,” Ellis said. “Without the coverage, without the interest and without your passion, we have to continue what we’ve got here.”
With the conclusion of the @USWNT Victory Tour today, Jill Ellis officially steps down as head coach. #ThankYouJill for the passion and determination with which you led our team to four stars, and thanks to all the fans who cheered her and the team on throughout the Victory Tour! pic.twitter.com/7dHy4H6ZcQ
— Carlos Cordeiro (@CACSoccer) October 7, 2019