[U.S. SOCCER] Former U.S. women's national team captain and coach April Heinrichs and UCLA women's coach Jillian Ellis have been hired as technical director and development director for the U.S. women's national team program. The hirings follow concerns about the level of talent coming out of the girls program and mark the first time U.S. Soccer has appointed full-time management positions on the girls side.
Heinrichs will focus on the technical direction for women's soccer and oversee the U-20s and U-18s. Ellis will work with coaches of major youth clubs and direct the U-17s, U-15s and U-14s.
“I am extremely pleased that April and Jill have joined our women’s national team program,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati in a statement. “We have two vastly experienced coaches who have the knowledge and the tools to focus heavily on the development of girls’ soccer in the United States.”
Heinrichs was head coach of the national team for five seasons (2000-2004) and led the USA to the 2004 Olympic gold medal in Greece, a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics in Australia and a third-place finish at the 2003 Women’s World Cup in the USA.
Ellis has coached the U.S. U-21s during two different stints in 2000 and 2005, coached the U.S. U-20s in 2007, but left that job in 2008 to become an assistant coach under Pia Sundhage for the Olympics and coaching the U-20s again in 2009-10, leading them to quarterfinals at the 2010 U-20 Women’s World Cup in Germany.
Ellis owned a 229-45-14 record in 12 seasons at UCLA, where assistant head coach B.J. Snow has replaced her.
Ellis took the Westwood job in 1999, guided UCLA to the 2000 NCAA final and led the Bruins to seven straight College Cup (2003-09). They also reached the final in 2004 and 2005 but never won the title.