Only a few weeks removed from their World Cup victory the USWNT is making news again. Let’s be honest, have they really stopped?
Head coach Jill Ellis announced Tuesday afternoon that she would be stepping down following their upcoming victory tour. Although it could be considered a shock by many it really shouldn’t be. It’s a smart decision. She’s quitting while she’s ahead.
For a coach who was often criticized for her on-field decisions, she was able to accomplish something in her 5 year tenure that none of her predecessors did. She is the only head coach to repeat as a World Cup champion. Germany was the only other nation to ever go back to back before the US accomplished the task at the start of July, but their repeat was in the hands of two different coaches.
US Soccer has some time to find her replacement, which is good considering that they are currently in the midst of trying to clean up after themselves. She may have publicly made the announcement Tuesday, but she won’t formally be vacating her position until their victory tour ends in October.
A New Page
The last significant male coach of the National Team was the late great Tony DiCicco. The US was on the forefront in the early 2000’s when they hired April Heinrichs and, while more female coaches have come onto the world scene in recent years, it will be curious to see what choice US Soccer will make in their next hire.
One thing is for sure and that is that Jill Ellis will be leaving her successor in capable hands in terms of player personnel. There is no question that the US Women could field a winning team on the world stage at least 3 times over. Ellis did the same thing in her tenure at UCLA.
She may have not always been the most popular people’s coach, but she was clearly popular with her players and her resume proves it. Wait, did I just make a weird reverse Princess Diana comparison about an English-American coach? That is definitely not how I foresaw this piece ending when I started it.
Thank you Jill, from the fans, for bringing us two back to back victories that we are unlikely to ever forget. We can’t wait to see how you will continue to grow the women’s game in your new role.