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Former USNWT Soccer Coach Is Helping The Next Generation of Female Coaches

Recently retired Jill Ellis is helping to eliminate the gender gap in coaching by helping women go further with their coaching certifications.

Jill Ellis will go down in history as one of the best coaches the U.S. Women’s National Team soccer has ever seen.

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Under her leadership, the team has won two World Cups (one in 2015 and one in 2019), and one Olympic gold medal. She’s one of only two coaches in the history of the World Cup (men’s and women’s) to win the title twice.  

Two months after the 2019 World Cup, Ellis announced that she would be stepping down from her head coaching position. Now, her life is a bit more quiet.

However, Ellis has offers on the table to return to coaching for other teams and has said that if the time or the team is right, she will do it. Right now, though, Ellis’ main focus is to reduce the gender gap in coaching.

“I never had a female head coach,” Ellis said in an interview with the New York Times. “But more than that, when I was coaching at UCLA, which really wasn’t that long ago, 98 percent of the recruits I had talked to had never played for a female coach.”

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Ellis coached at UCLA until 2011. Less than a decade ago, she observed that most of her players had never had a female coach. Ellis is hoping to change that.

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A year after her retirement, U.S. Soccer announced a scholarship fund in her name and a development program to try and close the gender gap. 

The scholarship will be used for candidates to get their “B” and “A” certifications for coaching. These are the hardest ones to get, as the classes are more intense, and required prior certifications are expensive. 

The development and mentorship program allows prospective coaches to work one-on-one with professionals in the form of monthly calls, having them be available for questions and for in-person meetups when available. Some of these professionals include Ellis herself, Laura Harvey, Lesle Gallimore, Lauren Gregg and Anson Dorrance.

“Every year we ask, ‘why do we not have more females in coaching? Why are the percentages so disproportionate?” Ellis said in a statement. “We want to stop asking and commit to change the ratio and significantly grow those numbers. With the amazing group of people we have involved in both these programs, I know we will make a significant positive impact on a lot of young female coaches.”

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