PHILADELPHIA – The setting was familiar for Jill Ellis, even if the colors of the room change and the sea of faces in front of her have rotated through the years.
She had just walked up to the podium for the umpteenth time as head coach of the United States women’s national team. She was happy to answer questions about everything from Carli Lloyd’s potential pursuit of an NFL gig to why the sellout crowd expected at Lincoln Financial Field the following day.
Of greatest consequence for the future of the U.S. women’s program, however, is the question of who will replace Ellis as head coach. Ellis announced in late July that she would be stepping down after the victory tour, having guided the U.S. women to back-to-back World Cup titles. Thursday’s match against Portugal is one of four remaining for Ellis, meaning these rudimentary moments – bus rides to the stadiums, questions from the press, training in the main stadium – are nearing an end.
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