Jillian Ellis (born September 6, 1966) is a football coach who is currently the head coach of the United States Women’s National Soccer Team and a development director of the United States Soccer Federation, overseeing the national youth teams development program. In 2015, the United States Women’s National Football Team won the World Cup Championship under her leadership. Ellis was appointed head coach on May 16, 2014. Prior to this appointment, she served as interim head coach following the removal of Tom Sermanni on April 6, 2014, having previously held the position upon Pia Sundhage’s early departure in October 2012. She has also served as head coach for various university and United States national youth teams over the years
Ellis did not play organized football until her family moved to the United States in 1981, as there was no organized football for girls in 1970s Britain. She captained the Robinson Secondary School team in Fairfax, Virginia to the 1984 state championship and won the under-19 national title with the Braddock Road Bluebelles the same summer.
She went on to play as a forward at William & Mary from 1984 to 1987, when she was named third-team All-American.
Coaching and administrative career
Ellis has a USSF “A” coaching license; with coaching experiences that includes multiple stints for the under-20 and under-21 national teams, and an impressive UCLA Bruins record as a coach.She is the Development Director of United States Soccer Federation. She served as assistant coach of the women’s national team, head coach of a number of women youth teams, and was the interim coach of the senior women’s national team in 2012, and for 2 matches in 2014. She was appointed the permanent head coach of United States women in May 2014.
College teams manager
Ellis served as an assistant coach for three universities: at Maryland for three years, 1994–96; at Virginia for one year, 1996–97; and at NC State for another three years, 1988–90. As an assistant coach at N.C. State, Ellis helped the NC State secure the 1988 Atlantic Coast Conference title and a NCAA Final Four appearance.
Ellis headed the Illinois women’s football program for two years, 1997–1999. In 1998, she brought the Fighting Illini to a 12–8 record and a first-ever Big Ten Tournament berth.
Ellis led UCLA, to eight NCAA Final Fours, including seven in a row from 2003-2009, and won six straight Pacific-10 Conference titles from 2003-2008. She finished her time in Westwood with a record of 229 wins, 45 losses and 14 draws (229–45–14). 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 has an all-time collegiate coaching record of 248 wins, 63 losses and 14 draws (248–63–14), compiled over 14 years at 2 colleges: Illinois Fighting Illini and UCLA Bruins.
National youth teams manager
Ellis was the head coach of the United States under-21 women’s national football teams coaching a team to win the Nordic Cup title at Germany 2000; and also coached a team to Sweden 2005 Nordic Cup. In another stint as youth team’s head coach, she guided the U.S. under-20 women’s national team to the CONCACAF title in 2010 and to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Germany.
National Development Director
Ellis joined U.S. Football full-time after a highly successful 12-year run as the head women’s soccer coach for the UCLA Bruins. Jill Ellis was appointed by U.S. Soccer as Development Director for the U.S. women’s national teams in January 2011. The appointment, along with April Heinrichs as Technical Director, marks the first time U.S. Soccer had appointed full-time positions to oversee the programs of national women’s youth teams, and their overall development.
As Development Director, Ellis interacts directly with coaches within the youth club leagues, and guides the U.S. under-17, under-15 and under-14 teams.
National team manager
Ellis was a scout for the U.S. women’s national team, at the Sydney 2000 Olympics; and served as an assistant coach under Pia Sundhage when the U.S. women’s national team won the gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Following the early departure of head coach Pia Sundhage for Sweden, Ellis served as the interim head coach until Tom Sermanni was hired as the full-time head coach.
At the time of her appointment to interim coach in 2012, Ellis was the assistant coach to Sundhage; and the Development Director of the United States women’s national team program.
Ellis’s first appearances as head coach of United States women’s national soccer team was against Germany, on October 20, 2012 at Bridgeview, Illinois and on October 23 at Hartford, Connecticut; two international friendly matches in a series organised to celebrate the winning of the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics. The first match finished at 1–1 and the second at 2–2.
On October 30 of 2012, U.S. Football Federation announced that starting January 1, 2013, Tom Sermanni would be the head coach of the United States women’s national soccer team; Ellis remained interim coach till the end of 2012.
With a match against China on December 15 of 2012, Ellis completed her first stint as interim head coach of U.S. women’s national team, with 5 wins, 2 draws, and no loss.
On April 6, 2014, U.S. Soccer Federation announced the firing of Tom Sermanni and the re-appointment of Ellis as interim head coach of the United States women’s national soccer team. As interim head coach in 2014 Ellis had a 3–0 win against China, and a 1–1 draw with Canada.
On May 16, 2014, U.S. Football announced that Ellis had been appointed as the national team’s head coach on a permanent basis. Ellis’s job as head coach was to qualify for the 2015 World Cup and win the championship. On July 5, 2015, she coached the United States to a 5–2 victory over Japan, to win the World Cup.
Ellis grew up in Cowplain, a small village near Portsmouth on the southern coast of England. Naturally athletic, she ran track and field, and played field hockey and netball, but did not play organized football as it was considered “unladylike” in 1970s Britain. But she tagged along with her brother Paul and played whenever they needed an extra player.
Her father John Ellis, a former Royal Marines commando, was a longtime football ambassador for the British government, assigned to help create football programs worldwide and served as head coach for the Trinidad and Tobago national team. In 1981, the Ellis family moved to Northern Virginia, where he founded Soccer Academy in Manassas.
Her brother Paul also became a football coach, coaching area high school teams and serving as an assistant coach at George Mason before taking a full-time position at Football Academy Inc.
Ellis earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Composition at the College of William and Mary in 1988, and earned a master’s degree in technical writing at North Carolina State University. Her mother Margaret “was horrified”, on learning of her plan to give up her lucrative job as a technical writer at Northern Telecom to work as an assistant coach with subsistence pay, while John advised her to “do something substantial” instead.
Ellis lives in Palmetto Bay, Florida a suburb of Miami with her wife Betsy Stephenson, who she married in 2013, and their adopted daughter Lily. Ellis, along with her parents and brother, are naturalized American citizens.
- Third-Team All-American in 1987 at College of William and Mary
As assistant coach of NC State Wolfpack:
- 1988 Atlantic Coast Conference title
As head coach of UCLA Bruins:
- The 2000 NSCAA National Coach of the Year
- Six straight Pacific-10 Conference titles from 2003–08
- United States Women
As coach of youth teams:
- Nordic Cup title at Germany 2000 under-21 tournament
- 2010 under-20 CONCACAF title
As assistant coach of senior team:
- Beijing 2008 Olympic Gold medal
As head coach of senior team:
- 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship (1st place)
- 2015 Algarve Cup (1st place)
- 2015 Canada Women’s World Cup (1st place)