U.S. women name Jill Ellis head coach

Interim U.S. women's soccer coach Jill Ellis was named on Friday as head coach in charge of the United States women's soccer team, U.S. federation president Sunil Gulati announced.

"Jill has been on the bench for more senior and youth women's national team matches than perhaps any coach in United States history," Gulati said. "She has worked at this for many years and has tremendous knowledge of our player pool and the qualities of multiple generations of players.

"We are confident she is the best person to find the right combinations on the field to make us successful in World Cup qualifying and beyond. She has experienced first-hand the growth of women's soccer worldwide and is uniquely positioned to lead our team to an even higher level."

The U.S. women had been without a permanent coach since Tom Sermanni was fired April 6 after the Americans managed just a draw and two defeats at the Algarve Cup in March.

Ellis took over as interim coach and led the team to a 3-0 win over China four days later. In her only other game in charge, the U.S. and Canada drew 1-1 last week in Winnipeg.

Ellis, 47, who spent 12 years as the coach at UCLA, was anĀ assistant under Pia Sundhage at the 2008 Olympics. She has also led the American under-21 and under-20 teams and served as development director.

"First, I would like to sincerely thank U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati and U.S. Soccer secretary general/CEO Dan Flynn for this amazing opportunity. It's a huge honor," said Ellis. "I also want to acknowledge all the past players and coaches that have built a rich tradition and legacy for this team. I'm humbled and proud to lead the current generation of players toward the ultimate goal, a FIFA World Cup championship.

"Finally, I want to thank my father who ignited my passion for this game and who inspired me to be a coach."

Ellis' first matches as official head coach will come on June 14 and 19 against fourth-ranked France in Tampa, Fla., and East Hartford, Conn., respectively. Her first major tournament be the eight-team CONCACAF qualifying for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in October.

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