Women's Football

Jill Ellis joins FIFA as lead adviser on the future of women's soccer

Lizzy Becherano
former USWNT head coach Jill Ellis joins FIFA as lead adviser
former USWNT head coach Jill Ellis joins FIFA as lead adviser / Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Former USWNT head coach Jill Ellis has joined FIFA as a lead adviser on the future of women’s soccer, tasked to examine changes to the international match calendar. 

Ellis joins the board as FIFA intensifies their campaign to turn the World Cup into a biennial event instead of the current four-year schedule. 

The former head coach led the USWNT to victory on two consecutive occasions in 2015 and 2019. Now, she will work to achieve competitive balance on a global scale as women’s football remains heavily skewed toward a few elite nations.

"That is a component of looking at different levers to pull to grow the game,'' Ellis said in a video briefing Sunday.

"Everything is going to be in the scope of conversation, but that has not been determined. I think that's going to be part of the conversation of this group is to is to make recommendations.''

"I'm aware that there is ongoing conversations on the men's side, but I think they're probably looking at a lot of different things in terms of handling the landscape. One of the things that I said to people is, 'Listen, there can't be a world championship, a major championship played on the women's side on the same day as the men's side.'

"So just simple calendar alignment and working on it cooperatively so that both the women and the men, sports fans can stand tall. So that's looking at the scope of the calendar. And within that, we'll probably come the discussion on the frequency of of world championships.''

While most people tend to be against the radical two-year change for the World Cup, Ellis added that it could bring substantial benefits beyond economic increase. 

"They're just massive focus points in terms of just elevating our game, not just in terms of the economic drivers of sponsors coming to the table, but I think probably participation increases after major world events," she explained. "So there's a lot of reasons for us to dig in to what makes sense. But that's still that'll be part of the solution and part of the focus group's task.''

In addition to working with FIFA, Ellis stands as president of San Diego’s National Women’s Soccer League expansion team.