Jill Ellis, the soft-spoken English-born coach who restored the United States to its position as the pre-eminent force in women’s soccer, is stepping down as coach of the women’s national team, less than a month after leading the Americans to their second straight Women’s World Cup title.
Ellis, 52, plans to coach the team through its coming victory tour before leaving the post, according to a U.S. Soccer official with knowledge of Ellis’s plans who confirmed her decision to step down. That valedictory tour will begin Saturday with a friendly against Ireland at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Games in Philadelphia and St. Paul will follow at the end of the summer, with the final two to come in the fall.
U.S. Soccer was expected to formally announce Ellis’s departure on Tuesday afternoon.
Ellis is the only women’s coach to have won two consecutive World Cup championships. She directed the Americans to their third world title — the team’s first since 1999 — in Canada four years ago, quieting persistent critics of her coaching methods and lineup selections, and then repeated the feat in France in early July with a virtuoso performance in which her players did not lose a game. In fact, her teams never lost a game at the World Cup. They were 13-0-1 over the last two tournaments and outscored their opponents, 40-6.
Ellis had served as national team coach since 2014, but her association with the program goes back nearly two decades. A scout during her days as a college coach at stops from North Carolina State to U.C.L.A., where her teams reached eight consecutive N.C.A.A. Final Fours, she was an assistant coach when the team won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Ellis’s current tenure as United States coach is technically her second; she served briefly as interim coach after Pia Sundhage stepped down in the wake of another Olympic title in London in 2012.
Ellis was passed over for the full-time position by U.S. Soccer, however, when the federation chose Tom Sermanni, a Scot, as Sundhage’s replacement. But the players on the team at the time bristled under Sermanni, and in April 2014 Ellis replaced him as the head coach when he was fired.
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