Jill Ellis, who led the U.S. to a pair of Women’s World Cup championships, is stepping down as coach. Her contract with the U.S. Soccer Federation expires Wednesday, although an extension offer was on the table.
The news was first reported by Jeff Kassouf of the Equalizer. U.S. Soccer did not immediately confirm the report but a spokesman said earlier Tuesday that an announcement on Ellis’ future was expected.
According to Kassouf, Ellis is expected to coach the team during its five-game World Cup victory tour, which starts Saturday at the Rose Bowl.
Ellis refused to discuss her plans following the World Cup earlier this month in France, although indications were that she would step aside.
Ellis’ 127 games coached is the most in the history of the U.S. women’s team, and her 102 wins is second only to the late Tony DiCiccio. She’s also undefeated in 14 games as a World Cup coach and is the only woman to coach her team to back-to-back titles.
Ellis said earlier this year that she was interested in coaching a men’s team, and at 52, this might be the best time to make that move. She recently got her pro coaching license, making her the only woman to pass the course in the three years it has been offered, and she reportedly impressed several MLS coaches who took the course with her.
“I would definitely say it’s crossed my mind,” she said this past spring of coaching a men’s team. “After the national team, this is what I say to you. My experience going through the pro-license (course) with a lot of MLS head coaches and assistant coaches, what I took away from that is it isn’t that different. The game is the game.”