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Kickin’ Back with Jill Ellis

Let’s get right to it: This is the first episode of Kickin’ Back, a podcast hosted by me, Jeff Kassouf, and part of The Equalizer network.

The goal of this podcast is to have casual, in-depth conversations with personalities from around the sport about some of the biggest and most defining moments in their careers to date. We’ll discuss everything from the present to what got them here, and we’ll bring you a level of access you’ve come to expect from the site that’s been setting the bar in women’s soccer coverage since 2009.

This first episode is an hour-plus conversation with Jill Ellis about her time in charge of the United States women’s national team. We discuss 2015 and 2019 World Cup triumphs, learning from failures like the 2016 Olympics and the three-back system which followed, her relationships with other coaches and conversations with the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino, and certain player selections she made in important moments.

Listen to the full podcast here:

We already have our next couple podcasts in the books with top U.S. players. Click here to subscribe on Spotify now so you never miss an episode. You can also click here for the RSS feed that you can plug in anywhere. We’ll be on every platform shortly.

We’ve been talking about creating a new, interview-based podcast for a long time, and we finally decided at the beginning of 2020 that it was time for action. The goal was in-person sit-down interviews and we recorded exactly one of those before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the sports world, but we’ve adapted and used technology to keep the spirit and the conversations going.

Please go ahead and rate and review this pod with those five stars on your favorite platform so that more people can discover it. Let us know in the comments who you would like to hear from in the future.

Thank you to Claire Watkins for editing and producing this podcast, as well as her vision in helping it become reality.

Music: “Inspirational Outlook” by

Here are rough timestamps of the topics Jill and I spoke about in this debut episode:

7:00 — PRO coaching license course and impressing colleagues in the room

13:50 — Inspiration from Klopp and Liverpool; Pep and Man City

21:22 — Knowing she would step down seven months before she did

28:15 — Struggling at the 2015 World Cup, changing the lineup, ‘We need a bitch’ moment

44:00 — Why the Spain game was the toughest of the 2019 journey

50:00 — Going to a five-back vs. France, the failed three-back experiment

58:00 — Taking responsibility for the 2016 Olympics

63:30 — Development phase vs. performance phase, and keeping players happy

71:11 — Attacking vs. defending shape, Horan vs. Mewis, profile of a No. 9


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