The End of the "Ellis" Era

The United States Women’s National soccer team played their final game under head coach, Jill Ellis, on Sunday. Being a lifelong soccer fan and “groupie” for this team, of course, I watched the game in its entirety. I am the kind of person who could sit and watch soccer for hours on end, unlike most people. I love it, and I love this team. Going into this game, I knew it was going to be an important one. Not like World Cup qualifying important, but since it was the last game under Coach Ellis, I knew they were looking for the win. By the end of the game, I had so many emotions, and no outlet for any of them.

The United States ended up tying South Korea for a 1-1 draw Sunday afternoon. Not the result anyone wanted, but still a fantastic game nonetheless. The game had so many ups and downs: missed shots on goals, a Carli Lloyd goal that was “offsides” (where is VAR when you need it?), and a South Korea team that wasn’t going to give up. Once the final whistle blew, you could tell the players weren’t pleased. That’s when the attention turned to Coach Jill Ellis. Each player made their way to her to give out finals hugs and say their thanks to her. 

Jill became head coach of the USWNT in 2014 and coached her final game last Sunday. Five years with the team, two World Cup championships, and one newly minted G.O.A.T.. By the end of her time with the USWNT, she had coached 132 games, won 106, tied 19, and lost a mere 7 games. Her 106th win surpassed the late and great Tony DiCicco for most coached wins for a United States soccer team. Truly one of the best coaches to ever take on this whirlwind of a team. 

It will be a challenge to find another coach with as much passion and drive for this team. Now that she has stepped down, Ellis will be taking on the role of ambassador for U.S. Soccer and I am sure that she will continue to advocate for equality, on and off the pitch. She will be missed, but soccer fans everywhere can agree that she has done so much for this sport. Thank you Coach Ellis!

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