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Women's World Cup: Will U.S. victory tour include coach Jill Ellis?

Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Soccer

LYON, France – The newly minted Women's World Cup champions will begin a multigame victory tour Aug. 3 in Pasadena provided the Rose Bowl board, which will meet Monday, approves a proposal for the game.

"The Rose Bowl is thrilled at the potential of hosting the opening match of the victory tour of the World Cup champions," said Darryl Dunn, the stadium's chief executive and general manager.

The game's announcement came less than an hour after U.S. coach Jill Ellis talked about the importance of supporting the domestic leagues that develop World Cup players. And that set off a brief firestorm on social media because two National Women's Soccer League games involving national team players are also scheduled for Aug. 3.

That might not be Ellis' problem, as her contract with U.S. Soccer expires at the end of this month. Although she has an option to come back, Ellis said Sunday that she's uncertain whether she will accept it.

"I can't even think about that right now," she said. "Right now, it's about just enjoying this moment. I said to the players in the pregame (meeting) that we have to take this game one minute, one moment, one decision at a time. And I kind of live by that.

"So I think for me right now, I'm just going to circle this in and enjoy it and celebrate with my players."

 

Ellis might be due for a move. Her 127 games as coach of the women's national team are the most ever, and her 102 wins rank second to the late Tony DiCicco, who had 105. She's also undefeated in 14 games as a World Cup coach and is the only woman to coach her team to back-to-back titles.

Ellis has said she was interested in coaching a men's team, and, at 52, this might be the best time to make that move. She recently got her pro coaching license, making her the only woman to pass the course in the three years it has been offered, and she reportedly impressed several MLS coaches who took the course with her.

"I would definitely say it's crossed my mind," she said this past spring of coaching a men's team. "After the national team, this is what I say to you. My experience going through the pro-license (course) with a lot of MLS head coaches and assistant coaches, what I took away from that is it isn't that different. The game is the game."

The U.S. team is scheduled to leave Lyon on a charter flight Monday afternoon and will make a round of media interviews in New York on Tuesday before being honored with a ticker-tape parade Wednesday. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio will then present players with keys to the city.

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