SEATTLE, WA–– U.S. Women’s National Team coach Jill Ellis, whose team won the 2015 FIFA World Cup and soon begins defense of its Olympic Games gold medal, will serve as the featured guest speaker for Washington Youth Soccer’s 50th Anniversary Gala, Sept. 9 at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue.
In her first full year in charge of the USWNT, Ellis was chosen as the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Soccer, the first time an American has been bestowed that honor. In 2015 the USA went 20-2-4, highlighted by the 5-2 victory over Japan in the World Cup final. Going into the Rio Games, the team is unbeaten (14-0-1) in 2016. The first group stage match is Aug. 3.
“Jill is the perfect featured speaker for this very special occasion of celebrating our 50 years,” said Washington Youth Soccer President Daren Mancini. “She is not only coach of the reigning world champions, she’s also keenly aware of Washington’s role of supporting and promoting girls’ soccer from the very beginning. We are honored and humbled that she has accepted our invitation, and our audience will be thrilled with the insight and perspective Jill will provide.”
The 50th Anniversary Gala will celebrate Washington Youth Soccer’s history of accomplishments since 1966. Proceeds will fund the new Washington Youth Soccer Foundation to provide opportunities and access to youth soccer for underserved youth and communities. Gala tickets and table sponsorships are available online at WashingtonYouthSoccer.org/Gala. The event will also feature live and silent auctions. Sounders FC majority owner Adrian Hanauer is the Gala’s honorary chair.
Prior to being named head coach, Ellis served as development director for the U.S. Women’s National Teams, Under-20 WNT head coach and as USWNT assistant coach to Pia Sundhage. Earlier, Ellis was UCLA head coach, guiding the Bruins to eight College Cup finals and six conference championships. She began her collegiate head coaching career at Illinois. A native of Portsmouth, England, Ellis came to the United States at age 15 and was a third team All-America forward at William & Mary.
Washington has been at the forefront of youth soccer from the association’s outset. Girls programs were instituted in 1972 with the first state cup tournaments conducted the following spring. Mike Ryan, the founding president of WA Youth Soccer, was later chosen to become the first USWNT head coach, and four Washingtonians featured in the first victorious FIFA Women’s World Cup team in 1991. To date, over 20 WA Youth Soccer alumni have represented the U.S. at the international level, including FIFA Player of the Century, Michelle Akers, and current USWNT record-setting goalkeeper, Hope Solo.
About Washington Youth Soccer – Washington Youth Soccer is the largest youth soccer organization in Washington and is the state’s affiliate for US Youth Soccer, the largest youth sports organization in the United States and the most populous member of the United States Soccer Federation, the governing body for soccer in the United States. Washington Youth Soccer is the 10th largest membership in the nation; representing over 105,000 players (ages 4-19) and their families, 15,000 coaches on 12,000 teams and 6,500 referees in the state of Washington. Washington Youth Soccer’s mission is to foster the physical, mental and emotional growth and development of the State of Washington’s youth through the sport of soccer at all levels of age and competition. To learn more visit WashingtonYouthSoccer.org.