PALMETTO BAY (CBSMiami) – The U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team is fresh off winning their second straight World Cup title and in an exclusive interview, CBS4 heard from head coach and Palmetto Bay resident, Jill Ellis for the first time since the victory.
After spending about two months on the road, the players continue to celebrate the win, but Ellis is back home soaking it all in.
“Yeah, I mean it was a little bit surreal. I mean obviously right after the win, we got to see our friends and family in France. We had a party there,” Ellis said. “I don’t think the players slept on the plane ride back. I got a couple hours.”
On Wednesday, the team celebrated at the Ticker-Tape Parade in New York City, a celebration Ellis said was even better than the first time, when she experienced it back in 2015 after winning her first World Cup with the team.
“I was fortunate to do it once before, but the Ticker-Tape Parade is unreal,” said Ellis.
But even back on June 11, when Ellis and her squad began the road to gold, she knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
“I said it was going to be the hardest World Cup to win. Certainly, our path was incredibly challenging. To have to go through that caliber of teams, I think play four out of the top five teams in the world going through the rounds,” Ellis said.
Although the team was able to represent their country and sport on the biggest stage, they received a lot of criticism about their celebrations during games, something Ellis believed was unnecessary and misunderstood.
“It’s so hard for these players and they’ve sacrificed so much, that this is their moment,” said Ellis. “And for people to, you know, criticize or judge or whatever, I mean if it’s a players dream and they’re living it out in that particular moment, that exuberance of joy, you just have to support that and let it show.”
The players continue to celebrate by attending several festivities including the 2019 ESPYs, where they won an award for best team.
However, even more rewarding for Ellis, who has a daughter, is the chance for the women to use their platform to fight for what they believe in.
“For the players to have an opportunity to use their platform to advocate to further a woman’s stance in anything, I think it’s fantastic. Whether it’s self-esteem, pay equality, all those things, I think it’s tremendous,” said Ellis.
Ellis is one of two coaches in both men’s and women’s soccer to win two World Cup titles and as of now, she has yet to experience a loss on the big stage.