W&M Alum Jill Ellis is Now a President

Former USWNT head coach and Tribe Women’s Soccer player Jill Ellis ‘88 has done it all. 

Ellis will serve as the President of the brand new, still un-named National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) expansion team in San Diego, California. The team will be joining the league in 2022.  

A former forward for the Tribe, Ellis earned NSCAA third team All-American honors in 1987. Ellis was also part of a class that made multiple NCAA appearances and won the WAGS tournament in 1987. 

In 2002, Ellis was inducted into William & Mary’s hall of fame. Two years prior, women’s soccer head coach and a close friend of Ellis’, Julie Shackford was also inducted into the W&M hall of fame. “She has been a player, coach at all levels, Mom, and a phenomenal leader. It makes sense that now she has her hand in leading a whole organization,” Shackford said, speaking on Ellis’ new position. 

After leaving the College, Ellis went on to an illustrious coaching career in collegiate soccer, most notably with UCLA and with youth national teams, prior to becoming an assistant and eventually head coach of the senior national team. Ellis became head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) in 2014. 

Hailed as one of the best women’s soccer coaches of all time, Ellis won back-to-back World Cup’s with the USWNT in 2015 and 2019. Following the national team’s victory in 2019, Ellis stepped down. In her time with the USWNT, she became the winningest coach in US Soccer history, leading the team to 106 wins and just 7 losses. “Jill has managed the U.S. Women…a team full of stars, egos, and talent. Having that experience makes her ideally suited for this next challenge,” Shackford said. 

As President of the newest expansion team, Ellis will be at the helm of the league’s 12th team. Having set a series of records as coach and advancing the global women’s game, Ellis’ opportunity to get more women in the door in the NWSL cannot be understated. Of the 10 teams currently competing in the league, only one has a female coach — and Ellis wants to change that. Ellis told the San Diego Tribune that she gets to “hire a female GM and hire a female head coach and provide opportunities for others, and then there’s a ripple effect from there.”

A team in Los Angeles is also set to join the NWSL in 2022. Some of Ellis’ former players like Abby Wambach and Lauren Cheney are members of the Angel City FC ownership group, setting up an interesting California rivalry between Ellis and her former players.  

Ellis’ impact on the women’s game will only grow as she gets ready to welcome an NWSL team to San Diego, switching from coach to President. 

Let’s go Tribe!

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