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Jill Ellis stepping down as USWNT head coach

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Ellis is leaving on her own terms, it appears.

United States of America v Netherlands : Final - 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Jill Ellis has decided to step down from her position as head coach of the US women’s national team, as reported today by Equalizer Soccer and later confirmed by US Soccer.

As per Equalizer, Ellis will remain with the WNT during their World Cup victory tour, which so far has three games scheduled against Ireland and Portugal in Pasadena, Philadelphia, and St. Paul. After the tour is complete in October, Ellis will step down fully.

Ellis is, of course, fresh off of a World Cup victory in France. She was also head coach for the WNT’s World Cup win in 2015, and their quarterfinal loss in the 2016 Olympics. Ellis took over as head coach in 2014 after the departure of Tom Sermanni, though she had bouts as interim head coach before that. She currently stands at a coaching record of 102-7-18.

Assistant coach Tony Gustavsson already departed the team last week, making it even more imperative that US Soccer complete their hiring of a general manager, who will then hire the next USWNT head coach, who will ostensibly be in charge of guiding the team through the 2020 Olympics. Could Ellis be headed for the GM role? US Soccer has shown a propensity for hiring from within and Ellis has plenty of cachet not just from her wins, but from bringing up several key young players, such as Rose Lavelle, Tierna Davidson, and Mal Pugh. Ellis also was able to get several youth team players their first dip in senior team waters, capping or bringing into camp players like Sophia Smith, Ashley Sanchez, and Jaelin Howell, and she has spent time in the youth system as both a head coach and a scout.

On the other hand, Ellis has been constantly criticized for her tactical handling of the USWNT, where any gaffes on the field could be papered over by the extraordinary individual talent in her rosters. Yet Ellis deserves credit for assembling those rosters in the first place, and certainly came across as a manager who had a handle on her locker room and how to psychologically manage her players. At the very least, her tenure at the helm has probably created some sense of continuity through the World Cup cycle.

US Soccer’s statement indicated Ellis will spend the next year as an “ambassador” who represents the federation at various events.

Who do you think should replace Jill Ellis as head coach?