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Gulati set to name new women's coach
by Paul Kennedy, May 15th, 2014 9:36PM

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TAGS:  women's national team

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[USA WOMEN] U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati will hold a conference call Friday afternoon during which he is expected to announce a new women's national team coach to replace Tom Sermanni, who was fired in April. The two finalists for the job are believed to be interim coach Jill Ellis and Swede Tony Gustavsson, head coach of UEFA Women's Champions League finalist Tyreso and a former U.S. women's assistant. For a look at the two coaches.

JILL ELLIS: Ellis is very much the inside candidate. She is in her second stint as interim head coach and worked in women's soccer for more than a quarter century. The USA has gone 1-0-1 in two games -- beating China and tying Canada -- this spring. She compiled a 5-0-2 record in 2012 after Pia Sundhage stepped down following the 2012 Olympics.

She was appointed as the development director for the U.S. women's national teams in January of 2011 in a dual hire with the appointment of former women's national team coach April Heinrichs as technical director to oversee the women's youth national team program and the programs' overall development. Her experience with the national team goes back to 2000 when she was a scout at the Olympics. Since then, she was also an assistant under Sundhage at the 2008 Olympics and served two stints as the U-20 women's head coach.

Ellis, 47, coached UCLA for 12 years, leading the Bruins to eight final fours, including seven straight appearances (2003-09). She did leave UCLA without winning a national title however. In five of the eight trips to the College Cup during Ellis, UCLA exited after losing in the semifinals.

Ellis was born in Portsmouth, England, and grew up in Northern Virginia, where her father, John Ellis, played a key role in soccer's development.

TONY GUSTAVSSON: Gustavsson, 40, is no stranger to American soccer, having worked as an assistant under Sundhage in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics. His first stay in the United States came in 1994 as a player with the old Orlando Lions of the USISL, one of eight clubs he played for.

Christen Press: Tony, Titles, and Trust

He coached men's pro teams in Sweden and Norway before being joining Sundhage in April 2012. After the Olympics, which the USA won for the third straight time with a 2-1 win over Japan in the gold-medal game, Gustavsson was appointed the head coach of Tyreso.

In his first season, he helped Tyreso win the Swedish league title. It plays defending champion Wolfsburg for the European women's title May 22 in Lisbon. Tyreso features such American stars as Christen Press, Whitney Engen and Meghan Klingenberg, Brazilian great Marta and Spanish star Veronica Boquete. Tyreso recently went through bankruptcy reorganization and has not had its license renewed for the 2015 season, making Gustavsson available.

Following his decision to fire Sermanni, Gulati said that all things being equal, he would hire a woman over a man and an American over a foreigner. Ellis took her name out of the running two years when it was time to replace Sundhage. This time she says she'd like the national team job on a permanent basis.


4 comments
  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: May 16, 2014 at 11:43 a.m.
    Thank you for covering this, Paul. I'd also like to know each candidate's team style of play not just won-loss record. The eventual retirement of Abby will have a big impact on how the WNT plays and just trying to replace her with another body will not be sufficient to defeat Japan.

  1. Peter Skouras
    commented on: May 16, 2014 at 11:59 a.m.
    You guys no something? Everyone in US Soccer from a Secretary all the way should be feeling that their futures are in a shaky state!!! The entire Soccer Culture needs to be revamped. Although Sunil is an acquaintance, he really has no business in the game. Maybe as a Soccer Dad...but that's it. Let's hope the US gets to the 2nd round! I'll leave it there for now.!

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: May 16, 2014 at 12:49 p.m.
    Peter: You know darn well that what you wish for will never occur, "...The entire Soccer Culture needs to be revamped....(sic)though as you know me, I do agree and hope we get to the second round. See you around!!!

  1. Bruce Gowan
    commented on: May 16, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.
    I look forward to the day that the USWNT does not have to play with Abby. She has been a great player and has contributed a lot to the success of the team but it is time to move on. The style of play is much better when she is not on the field. The new coach will have a chance to develop a new system of play that does not key on a single target player. It will be fun to watch.


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