CHICAGO – Jill Ellis has been rewarded for leading the U.S. women to the World Cup title with a contract extension. Next challenge: the Olympics.
The U.S. Soccer Federation said Wednesday that Ellis had agreed to a multi-year extension. That leaves Ellis in charge as the Americans prepare for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. They have won three straight Olympic gold medals, with Ellis as an assistant coach for the last two.
Ellis guided the United States to its third World Cup crown last month with a 5-2 victory over defending champion Japan.
"To watch our players achieve their dreams and continue to inspire fans across the country and the world was one of the most satisfying experiences of my coaching career," Ellis said. "Nothing is ever easy, and everything in this game is always earned, but I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to continue to work with these great players with the tremendous resources that U.S. Soccer dedicates to the women's game. We had a really exciting year, and we are looking forward to more exciting times ahead."
The 48-year-old Ellis took over as head coach of the U.S. team May 16, 2014, leading the women through World Cup qualifying and then to the title in Canada.
"She met that challenge with tremendous passion and knowledge to win what was perhaps the most difficult Women's World Cup tournament in history," U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said. "As we look towards the Rio Olympics and build towards the 2019 World Cup in France, we think Jill is the ideal person to lead the next generation of the women's national team."
As the U.S. heads into its 10-game "Victory Tour" this fall to celebrate its world title, Ellis has compiled a 29-2-9 overall record, including two stints as interim head coach in 2012 and 2014.
Ellis recognizes she will not have the same roster in Rio that she coached for the World Cup.
"We are going to have some turnover on the national team as we look towards the Olympics and the next Women's World Cup in France, but that's always part of the natural evolution," said Ellis. "It will be the job of the players and staff to keep up the world-class level of effort and intensity to meet the high expectations of this program. It's a challenge we are all looking forward to."