Feb. 23, 2000
CHICAGO, Ill. - U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach April Heinrichs has filled the head coaching positions for the three U.S. Women's Youth National Teams, tabbing 1991 Women's World Cup champion Tracey Leone to coach the Under-16s, Steve Swanson to head the Under-18s and Jillian Ellis to coach the Under-21s. Leone will also oversee the Under-14 National Team developmental program.
All three may also serve as assistant coaches with the full national team, as well as assisting each other on the various youth levels. The appointments come on the heels of a highly successful year in 1999 for the U.S. Women's Youth National Teams.
The U-21s and U-18s completed a treble of gold for the American women last summer by winning the Nordic Cup and the Pan-American Games, respectively, to go with the 1999 Women's World Cup title. In 1999, the U-18s played and won their first-ever matches abroad, defeating Germany and Denmark, while the U-16s experienced their first-ever international competition. Ellis and Swanson join U.S. Soccer on a part-time basis while Leone will be full-time.
"I'm tremendously excited about the opportunity to work closely with Tracey, Steve and Jillian," said Heinrichs. "As a group, they bring a wealth of knowledge and diverse soccer experiences. Their ability to serve as leaders and role models, as well as great coaches, will be unparalleled in the women's game and of great benefit to the many talented young women vying for sports on our youth national teams."
Leone will take a leave of absence from her position as co-head coach of the Clemson University women's soccer program, where she shares the coaching duties with her husband Ray. Leone built the Clemson program from scratch, taking over in 1993, a full year before the team began competing, and has led the Lady Tigers into the NCAA Tournament in each of her six years.
A three-time All-American at the University of North Carolina as Tracey Bates, Leone played for the U.S. Women's National Team from 1987-'91, appearing in 29 games and scoring six goals. She started and played in one match in the 1991 Women's World Cup against Japan. Leone is a USSF "A" licensed coach who has served as an assistant coach for the U-21 National Team since 1997.
"I have in been involved with the National Teams at some level for 13 years," said Leone. "It's an honor to join U.S. Soccer during this incredibly exciting time for women's soccer. I will do all I can to help April Heinrichs in every way possible to win the Olympic Gold in Sydney as well as develop the youth teams for future championships."
Swanson recently left his position as the head women's soccer coach at Stanford University to take the same post at the University of Virginia, vacated when Heinrichs took over the U.S. Women's National Teams programs.
Swanson, who also holds a USSF "A" license, coached the Cardinal for four seasons, including a 14-4-1 record in 1999 and a Pac-10 championship, his second. His overall record on The Farm was 49-28-4, and last season coached Stanford to its first post-season win since 1993 as he led the Cardinal back into the nation's top-10 with some of the best recruiting classes in the country. Prior to coaching at Stanford, Swanson built Dartmouth College into a national power during his six years at the helm of the Big Green.
Ellis is currently the head women's soccer coach at UCLA, completing her first season last fall. She came to Westwood from the University of Illinois, where she coached the Fighting Illini during their first two years of existence in 1997 and '98.
Ellis also served as an assistant coach under Heinrichs at the University of Virginia for one year and at Maryland for three years. She also served three years as an assistant at North Carolina State. Ellis, a U.S. Soccer "A" licensed coach, has previously served as an assistant coach for the U.S. U-21 and U-16 National Teams.
Ellis played forward for William & Mary from 1985-'87, earning All-American honors as a senior. As a youth player, she helped lead Braddock Road of Virginia to an Under-19 national championship in 1984. Ellis is the daughter of U.S. Women's National Team assistant coach John Ellis.