Jill Ellis to lead NWSL expansion team in San Diego
Former U.S. National Team coach Jill Ellis will be president of a National Women’s Soccer League expansion team in San Diego.
The new team, owned by investor Ron Burkle, will launch next season. The team are expected to announce a name in the coming weeks and Ellis hopes to name a coach in July.
“Thirty years on the sidelines, this opportunity presented itself and I thought, what a great way to continue to defend women, to offer opportunities to women, but also to stay connected to the game that I love”, she declared.
Ellis stepped down as the national team coach in 2019 after the United States won their second consecutive World Cup. She was hired as a coach in 2014 and led the United States to eight tournament titles. During his tenure, the United States lost just seven matches.
Ellis said she is committed to hiring women for many key positions, including coaching. She recounted how she rejected a suggestion that there weren’t many qualified candidates.
“There are certainly enough of them. It’s not even that I have to look that hard, “said Ellis.” So I think there are some amazing coaches. It was an important part of my conversations with Ron because I feel like we could have an organization run by women. “
Burkle is part owner of the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins. In February, he backed down from plans for a Major League expansion squad in Sacramento, Calif., Which was due to start playing in 2023.
Burkle’s partner, Matt Alvarez, will lead the NWSL team. Alvarez had been advertised as part of the Sacramento MLS retired ownership group.
“We believe in Jill and will provide the investment necessary to build a club that all of San Diego will be proud to support,” Burkle said in a statement. “Jill’s expertise and history in the sport is second to none and we are extremely pleased to continue to work with Commissioner (Lisa) Baird to bring a world class team to San Diego as we continue to develop the sport. and women’s football. ”
Baird announced earlier this year that the NWSL was adding a team to Sacramento, but when MLS expansion failed, the future of the NWSL team was uncertain until Tuesday’s announcement.
It is expected that the team will play at the University of San Diego early.
“What we want to do is be fiercely competitive from the start, put a product on the pitch that will compete, have players who are hungry to win championships from the start,” Ellis said at a conference. . with journalists. “I don’t want to dwell on this. I think we’re going to have resources and assets that will allow us to be competitive.
The addition of San Diego will take the league to 12 teams. Angel City in Los Angeles is also set to start playing in 2022.