Two-time World Cup champion coach Jill Ellis has been elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023, the organization announced this week. She joins U.S. women’s national team great Lauren Cheney Holiday and retired USMNT stars Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley in the 2023 class.
Ellis served as head coach of the USWNT from 2014-19. She finished her career as the winningest USWNT coach and the first ever to win back-to-back Women’s World Cups, leading the U.S. to titles and winning FIFA Women’s Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2019.
Ellis’ daughter, Lily Stephenson-Ellis, surprised her with the news during the San Diego Wave FC holiday party on Wednesday night. Ellis currently serves as president of the Wave, who became the first NWSL expansion team to make the playoffs in their inaugural season in 2022.
From daughter to mom 💙Lily Stephenson-Ellis swung by the Wave FC holiday party to deliver a special announcement. pic.twitter.com/c60kHECx4w— San Diego Wave FC (@sandiegowavefc) December 1, 2022
From daughter to mom 💙Lily Stephenson-Ellis swung by the Wave FC holiday party to deliver a special announcement. pic.twitter.com/c60kHECx4w
Ellis, 56, was named in the Sally Yates report released in October that detailed systemic abuse in the NWSL and women’s soccer. Yates’ investigation focused on three former NWSL coaches who have been at the center of abuse accusations: Christy Holly, Paul Riley and Rory Dames.
According to the findings, players brought complaints about coaches to Ellis and U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati in 2014, Ellis’ first year as USWNT coach.
“In 2014, National Team players reported to Gulati and Ellis that Riley and Dames ‘created a hostile environment for players’ and verbally abused them during games,” the report states. Both coaches remained in their roles until reports in The Athletic and Washington Post in 2021 uncovered specific allegations of abuse.
The Wave released a statement at the time of the Yates report that did not acknowledge Ellis’ involvement.