January 6, 2011
Heinrichs named U.S. women's technical director, Ellis development director
CHICAGO – U.S. Soccer on Thursday appointed former U.S. national coach April Heinrichs as the technical director and Jill Ellis as the development director for the U.S. Women's National Teams.
The hirings mark the first time U.S. Soccer has appointed full-time positions to oversee the women's youth national team program and the programs’ overall development.
Heinrichs will provide technical direction for women's soccer in the United States as it relates to the U.S. Women's National Teams with a focus on the Under-20 players and team and younger, while overseeing the U.S. Under-20 and U.S. U-18 Women's National Teams.
Ellis will take the lead on interacting directly with coaches within the youth club environment while guiding and directing the U.S. U-17s, U-15s and U-14s. Heinrichs and Ellis hold USSF "A" coaching licenses.
“I am extremely pleased that April and Jill have joined our women’s national team program,” U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said in a statement. “We have two vastly experienced coaches who have the knowledge and the tools to focus heavily on the development of girls’ soccer in the United States.”
Heinrichs and Ellis will work together to integrate all of the youth women’s and girls’ national teams, helping players and systems connect from one team to the next. They also will play major roles in leading the discussion on connecting the philosophies of the WNT head coach through all the youth national teams and especially to the massive amount of girls' youth clubs in the United States. Ellis will focus on the grassroots within the youth club environment to convey the goals and philosophies of player development in order to help produce quality players for the national team level.
“These are two great hires,” U.S. women's coach coach Pia Sundhage said in a statement. “Both April and Jill have tremendous experience in the women’s game at many levels. April has played at the highest level, coached at the highest level and has worked for FIFA on the technical side. Both are extremely competitive and know what it takes to play at the youth levels and for the full team. I’ve worked closely with Jill and her personality and knowledge are great. Her feeling for soccer and people will help the program overall. We are fortunate to have these two on board.”
Heinrichs and Ellis have extensive experience with U.S. Soccer’s women’s national team program. Heinrichs, a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, was coach of the full Women’s National Team from 2000-2004, compiling a 87-17-20 record. During her tenure she led the U.S. to the 2004 Olympic gold medal in Greece, a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics in Australia and a third-place finish at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup in the U.S. Heinrichs was the first female head coach of the U.S. WNT.
"I'm very much looking forward to getting back on the field again and working with our nation's best players, coaches and staff, as well as working collaboratively with the girls' and women's soccer community to enhance player development across the nation,” Heinrichs said. “It is an honor to have been selected for this role given the many great coaches that applied, and I will do my best to serve our new team, U.S. Soccer and the women's game."
Ellis has coached the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team during two different stints in 2000 and 2005, leading the side to Nordic Cup titles both years and also coached the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team during two tenures. She coached the U.S. U-20s in 2007, but left that job in 2008 to become an assistant coach under Sundhage for the gold-medal winning 2008 Olympic Team. In 2009, she took the helm of the U-20s again, coaching them into the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Germany. Ellis also served as a scout for the 2000 Olympics in Australia working for Heinrichs, who was the head coach of that U.S. team.