U.S. re-signs coach Jill Ellis as team extends Women's World Cup glory

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

CHICAGO -- Jill Ellis has been rewarded for leading the U.S. women to the World Cup title with a contract extension. Next challenge: the Olympics.

The U.S. Soccer Federation said Wednesday that Ellis had agreed to a multi-year extension. That leaves Ellis in charge as the Americans prepare for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. They have won three straight Olympic gold medals, with Ellis as an assistant coach for the last two.

"To watch our players achieve their dreams and continue to inspire fans across the country and the world was one of the most satisfying experiences of my coaching career,'' Ellis said. "Nothing is ever easy, and everything in this game is always earned, but I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to continue to work with these great players with the tremendous resources that U.S. Soccer dedicates to the women's game. We had a really exciting year, and we are looking forward to more exciting times ahead.''

Terms of the contract were not revealed, though Ellis' last contract gave her a base salary of $215,000, which was more than 10 times less than the $2.5 million per year given to U.S. men's team coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

"She met that challenge with tremendous passion and knowledge to win what was perhaps the most difficult Women's World Cup tournament in history,'' U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said. "As we look toward the Rio Olympics and build toward the 2019 World Cup in France, we think Jill is the ideal person to lead the next generation of the women's national team.''

The U.S. team returns to the field in two weeks in Pittsburgh to take on Costa Rica. The game kicks off a 10-game victory tour.

"What Jill did and the coaching staff did from start to finish earned us this World Cup," tournament star Carli Lloyd said after the July 5 championship game in which she posted a hat trick in a 5-2 win over Japan.

Ellis has compiled a record of 29-2-9 since being at the helm of the U.S. team; that record includes her two stints as interim head coach in 2012 and 2014. She took over the U.S. team in May 2014, five months before the CONCACAF qualifying tournament.

The first four matches of the victory tour have had record ticket sales thus far, including 39,000 alone for the Aug. 16 match versusCosta Rica at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The return leg versus Costa Rica, set for Finley Stadium inChattanooga, Tennessee, on Aug. 19 (6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2) is sold out, with more than 20,000 fans expected to attend.

More than 22,000 tickets have been sold for each of the final two matches against Australia on Sept. 17 (at Detroit's Ford Field) and Sept. 20 (at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama, 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2).

Ellis recognizes she will not have the same roster in Rio that she coached for the World Cup.

"We are going to have some turnover on the national team as we look toward the Olympics and the next Women's World Cup in France, but that's always part of the natural evolution," said Ellis."It will be the job of the players and staff to keep up the world-class level of effort and intensity to meet the high expectations of this program. It's a challenge we are all looking forward to."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.