USA's Jill Ellis Wins FIFA's Best Women's Coach Award
Jill Ellis will be going out on top.
The departing U.S. women's national team manager was named FIFA's Best Women's Coach at The Best gala in Milan on Monday, capping her triumphant 2019 with some individual hardware.
Ellis guided the U.S. women to a second consecutive Women's World Cup title, becoming the first manager to win back-to-back world titles. She announced that she would be stepping down from her post upon the conclusion of the USA's victory tour, which has two more games against South Korea to go early in October. She has not said if she'll be coaching elsewhere upon her departure, though U.S. Soccer said she'll remain an ambassador for the federation.
This marks the second time Ellis has won the award, with the other unsurprisingly coming after winning the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada. To do so in 2019, she edged England's Phil Neville and the Netherlands' Sarina Wiegman.
Before she leaves, Ellis will look to make history and exit as the USWNT's all-time winningest coach. She's currently tied with the late Tony DiCicco with 105 wins, and she has two more opportunities to add to that tally before stepping down. Her all-time record with the U.S. stands at an astounding 105-7-18.
Just who replaces Ellis remains to be seen. New USWNT general manager Kate Markgraf is tasked with finding her successor. Two candidates have already backed out of the running, with NC Courage's Paul Riley and Florida State's Mark Krikorian both saying they're not interested. Markgraf previously name-checked Utah Royals' Laura Harvey and Reign FC's Vlatko Andonovski as two potential choices, though it's unclear how wide of a net she is casting in her search.