- Jill Ellis led the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team to victory at this year's FIFA Women's World Cup.
- Ellis became head of the USWNT in 2014 and coached the team to their first World Cup championship since 1999.
- Here's what you should know about Jill Ellis' salary, coaching experience, and where she's off to after the World Cup.
ICYMI: The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team won gold at this year's FIFA Women's World Cup. You've probably seen photo after photo of the players celebrating their win over Netherlands in the World Cup final, like stars Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Crystal Dunn, Julie Ertz, and more. But the true hero of the tournament? USWNT head coach Jill Ellis.
Ellis took control of the U.S. Women's National Team in 2014. Ever since, she's been making history. Namely, winning championships. No team—men's or women's—has won back-to-back World Cups since former Italian men's national team coach Vittorio Pozzo in 1934 and 1938. But you know who just did? Jill Ellis, with two U.S. championships in the 2015 and 2019 Women's World Cups.
Despite all of her success today, Jill Ellis's salary may not be as sky-high as you think. Here's how much Ellis makes as head coach of the USWNT, and how she became the coach of the best team in the world. Plus, some random facts about her life, because she's pretty cool.
1. Jill Ellis's salary is...somewhat disappointing.
Though you may be under the impression that Jill Ellis's salary is booming due to the success of the USWNT under her leadership, that's unfortunately not the case. According to The Equalizer, Jill Ellis's salary last year was $291,029—11 times less than former Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who was paid a $3.354 million settlement after he was fired in November 2016 despite a five-year contract he signed in 2013.
And yes, her 2018 salary was the figure after Ellis received a "substantial" raise from the U.S. Soccer Federation after signing a new contact, though contract details have not been publicized yet. Still, in the 2018 fiscal year she was making less than Klinsmann, his top assistants, and the under-20 men's national team boss, the Washington Post reported. Klinsmann's replacement, Bruce Arena, earned $899,348 in base pay in 2017 and a $50,000 bonus, according to a tax filing released in February 2019.
It's understood that men's soccer attracts more fans, which translates to more views on TV, tickets sold, and ad revenue. As a result, the U.S. Soccer Federation will award the U.S. Women's National Team players approximately $260,869 each for winning the World Cup, while the Federation would award the men's team $1,114,429 each if they were to win, according to calculations by The Guardian. As far as earnings the players will receive from FIFA? $4 million. Fifa's budget for total Women's World Cup prize money was $30 million in comparison to the $400 million prize money available for the men in Russia last year. Still, the USWNT remains one of the top-earning women's soccer teams in the world despite the disparity.
Jill Ellis, whose contract was extended after the 2015 World Cup, has reportedly signed another contract extension to head the USWNT last year that increased her salary, but we'll have to wait and see for more details after this year's tax records are released in 2020.
2. Ellis is married to Betsy Stephenson.
With several lesbian players, the USWNT is one of the most LGBT-friendly teams in the nation. Former and current players like Abby Wambach, Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, and Megan Rapinoe have been vocal about LGBT equality. Coach Jill is also openly gay and has been married to wife Betsy Stephenson since 2013. The two have a daughter, Lily Stephenson-Ellis.
When the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage on June 26, 2015, the USWNT tweeted their support:
"I was actually very honored with what U.S. Soccer put out," Ellis told Sports Illustrated. "When I saw it, I was very moved. Our players, they're great role models, and to have that now be something that all of us can embrace, no matter where we live in the country, I think it's tremendous. It's a tremendous step for our country, and certainly, as somebody who benefits from that I'm extremely pleased for everybody in our nation in the LGBT community."
Though the Ellis had to move from South Beach to LA to coach the USWNT, Ellis's wife accompanied her along the way and often supports her at big matches. The two even shared a celebratory kiss after the U.S.'s victory in the 2015 World Cup. Like her partner, Stephenson got her career started in sports, working in the athletic departments of UCLA, Emory, and University of Kansas. Today she works as a Senior Director of Development at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine since December of 2013, according to her LinkedIn.
3. She was born in England.
Oh, the irony that was the intense face-off between the U.S. and England in the semi-final round of the World Cup this year! Ellis was actually born in England, even though she heads the USWNT.
Lars Baron - FIFAGetty Images
Before moving to Northern Virginia in the '80s where her soccer career blossomed, the Ellis's lived near Portsmouth on England's southern coast. Of course, it's well known that England as a whole is very passionate about "football," but it was Jill's father that inspired her to get involved with the sport early on. John was a longtime coach and worked for the English Foot Association training youth and national teams in developing nations.
John also contributed to the rise of youth soccer in the D.C. area and led several teams to National Championships. He also was the assistant coach to the USWNT in 2000. Like father, like daughter! Before she became a coach herself, Jill was a standout player at Fairfax's Robinson Secondary School, Braddock Road Youth Club, and Division 1 William & Mary.
"To be in the position I am in, I truly think if I had stayed in England, I am not sure I would be in coaching," Ellis told the Washington Post. "At the time, it was not even a career path; it was a rare career path in the States. What America gave me was the dream and the opportunity and the ability to follow that path, which I really had never dreamed about. I just feel very fortunate to be here."
Kent HornerGetty Images
4. She worked for the USSF before becoming head coach of the USWNT.
Following college at William & Mary, Ellis's former college coach April Heinrichs invited her to be her assistant at Maryland and Virginia, and she was hooked. Three seasons later she took a head coaching job at Illinois, where she built the program from scratch, and later she headed UCLA's women's team.
During her 11 seasons at UCLA, Ellis led the Bruins to eight NCAA Final Fours. Then, it was time to go national. She started coaching the USWNT's Under-20s and Under-21s, then finally got a chance to assist head coach Pia Sundhage with the senior team for the 2008 Olympics.
Within the U.S. Soccer Federation, she served as the National Youth Teams Manager, National Development Director, National Team Manager, and interim head coach after Sundhage in 2012 and Tom Sermanni was fired in 2014.
Icon Sports WireGetty Images
5. Ellis had 5 months to prepare the USWNT for the 2014 World Cup Qualifier.
Her interim head coach position turned full-time after the USSF's firing of Sermanni, and on May 16, 2014, at age 48, Jill took over the USWNT. She had but five quick months to prepare for the 2014 CONCACAF Women's World Cup Qualifying tournament, with a little more than a year until the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada. No pressure!
But Ellis calmly coached a determined team through the "Group of Death," which was the toughest group of competition in the Women's World Cup. The U.S. headed to the finals, and yet again made history with a World Cup win against Japan. It was the first time the team has won a World Cup since the iconic 1999 group. Not bad for Ellis's first year as head coach of the stellar team.
Matthew Lewis - FIFAGetty Images
Though the USWNT had built up a large momentum and was highly expecting to come out on top again for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the team was disappointingly knocked out in the quarterfinal round.
6. She is the first coach to win back-to-back World Cups since the 1930s.
That's right. Last weekend, the U.S. defeated Netherlands to secure their fourth championship in Fifa Women's World Cup history, and Ellis has coached the team to two of them. Italy's former men's national team coach Vittorio Pozzo was the last person to do such a thing in 1934 and 1938. Not only did the U.S. win it all, but they also won a slew of awards from Fifa:
- Most goals in a single Women's World Cup match
- Highest margin of victory in one soccer match
- Most consecutive World Cup tournament wins
The team, once again, is considered the best in the world of women's soccer, and it's all thanks to head coach Jill Ellis. We're not sure what she will do next, and how long she'll lead the USWNT. But we do know that it'd be smart of the USSF to keep her around.
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6 Things to Know About Jill Ellis, Source:https://www.prevention.com/life/a28355118/jill-ellis-us-womens-national-team-coach/