‘I coach the best team in the world’ - Outgoing USWNT boss Ellis doesn’t see coaching men as a step up

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Jill Ellis USWNT
Marc Atkins
The two-time World Cup champion has been tipped to move over to the men's game, but doesn't necessarily view that as a promotion

U.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis is open to managing a men’s team in the future, but has said she wouldn’t necessarily view that move as a step up.

Ellis will leave her position in October following the conclusion of the USWNT’s five-game World Cup victory tour. 

After taking over in 2014, Ellis has led the U.S. to back-to-back World Cup titles, with the most recent of those coming when the USWNT defeated the Netherlands 2-0 in the 2019 final in July. 

Ellis is likely to be in high demand when she decides to return to coaching, as one of only two people in history to win more than one World Cup – men’s or women’s. 

Some have suggested that Ellis, having conquered the women’s game, try her hand as a men’s coach. 

The English-born coach and Florida resident has already been asked about taking over at Inter Miami, the David Beckham-owned MLS expansion team set to begin play in 2020. 

While Ellis brushed that question aside, she spoke more about the possibility of coaching men ahead of the USWNT’s victory tour match against Portugal in Philadelphia. 

“People naturally see that as a step up and I don’t necessarily see it that way,” Ellis said of coaching on the men’s side. 

“I coach the best team in the world. I see it as not a ‘this’ move,” Ellis said as she put her hands above each other to indicate a step up. “It would be a ‘this’ move,” she said, pointing her fingers at each other to signify a lateral move.

“I’ve never coached men. I went to the pro licensing and what I learned a lot in there was coaches, whether it’s MLS, USL, international, we deal with many of the same things in terms of management and tactics and such,” Ellis continued.  

“I wouldn’t rule anything out because I don’t think that’s how I’m wired, I’d just look at what comes down the pipe and right now I’m not looking.”

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Should she take on men’s position, Ellis would join a rare group but would not be the first woman to coach a men’s team in the first two divisions of a league. That honor belongs to current France boss Corinne Diacre, who coached Ligue 2 side Clermont Foot for three seasons between 2014 and 2017. 

Ellis saw her side defeat Diacre’s team in the World Cup quarterfinal this summer en route to another world title. The English-born manager has earned the right to land a top-caliber position next, whether that job is on the men’s side or the women’s side, according to one of her players. 

“Whatever Jill wants to do she probably can considering she’s won two World Cups,” U.S. defender Kelley O’Hara said. “It’s a resume that speaks for itself.”