Former USWNT HC Jill Ellis Reportedly Candidate for DC United Opening

United States head coach Jill Ellis waves to the crowd as she leaves the field after an international friendly soccer match between the United States and South Korea, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

Kamil Krzaczynski/Associated Press

Former United States national women’s team coach Jill Ellis is among the possible targets for D.C. United in the club’s search for a new manager, according to The Athletic’s Pablo Maurer and ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle.

Carlisle provided some more context: “The source cautioned that DCU’s coaching search is in the ‘early stages.’ But if hired, Ellis would be the first woman to manage an MLS side.”

Ellis’ tenure with the USWNT ended in October 2019. Her 106 victories are the most ever, and she guided the squad to Women’s World Cup victories in 2015 and 2019, making the U.S. the first country to successfully repeat as champions.

Prior to replacing Tom Sermanni in 2014, Ellis coached at Illinois and UCLA before working for U.S. Soccer, where she started by leading the women’s youth teams.

The Washington Post‘s Steven Goff wrote Saturday the 54-year-old deserved to at least be considered by D.C. United. He acknowledged that Ellis has yet to coach a professional women’s club, something that requires a different approach than leading a national team.

Still, the USWNT job presented Ellis with challenges of its own, and Goff argued she excelled in the role: “She managed big personalities and fragile egos, implemented tactical plans and adjusted to changing circumstances. She is a meticulous planner, and her teams usually play fun, progressive soccer. Twice she was voted FIFA women’s coach of the year.”

The relatively brief tenures of Sermanni and Greg Ryan illustrated that coaching the USWNT isn’t as simple as showing up and letting the talent take over.

Maurer reported Jason Kreis and David Wagner might be on D.C. United’s list as well.

Kreis’ stock has fallen since his days leading Real Salt Lake, but he comes with MLS coaching experience. While Wagner’s stint at Schalke was a disappointment, he helped Huddersfield Town get promoted to the Premier League.

Neither would be a total surprise as the successor to Ben Olsen. Ellis getting hired—while history-making—would be done on merit as well.

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