Jill Ellis, former head coach of the United States women’s national team, is to become president of a San Diego expansion team for the National Women’s Soccer League, which is set to begin play in 2022.
NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird announced the expansion on Tuesday with a statement: “On behalf of the NWSL and our board of governors, I’m thrilled to welcome San Diego NWSL to our league. The NWSL’s growth is obviously a priority for us, but we’ve always said that growth has to be done thoughtfully and deliberately.”
Ellis coached the USA women’s national team from 2014 to 2019 and won two FIFA Women’s World Cups in 2015 and 2019, making her the second coach to win consecutive World Cups. Ellis stepped down as coach of the national team in October 2019.
In another highlight of her career, Ellis was head coach of the UCLA women’s soccer team from 2001-2009 and led the team to six straight Pac-10 Conference titles and eight NCAA Women’s College Cups. She also led the Bruins to the NCAA Championship game in just her second season, earning her 2000 NSCAA National Coach of the Year honors. She finished her UCLA career with 229 wins, 4 losses and 14 draws.
“This is a proud and historic moment for soccer in San Diego, Southern California and the United States,” said Ellis. “The NWSL continues to grow immensely and bringing women’s professional soccer back to San Diego, an area with a rich soccer history and passionate fan base, will have a deep and positive impact on this community.
“I’m incredibly honored to lead this club forward as we prepare for play in this league next year,” she added. “We aim to become a significant team globally, led by influential women, with the ability to attract the best talent throughout the world. I am eager to begin this project and look forward to leading this club as we build towards the future.”
According to reports, San Diego’s team, currently owned by Ron Burkle, will be the NWSL’s 12th club and the second team in the state of California, as Angel City FC in Los Angeles was announced earlier this year.