The 2010 season marked Jillian Ellis' 12th season at the helm of the UCLA women's soccer program. She was hired on July 8, 1999 as the third head coach in program history following previous coaches Joy Fawcett (1993-97) and Todd Saldana (1998).
During her 12 seasons in Westwood, Ellis has transformed the Bruins into one of the premier programs in the nation, as UCLA is annually in the hunt for the national title. She has led UCLA to eight appearances in the NCAA College Cup, including seven in a row from 2003-09. Her College Cup appearances have been highlighted with three trips to the championship match (2000, 2004 and 2005). Ellis owns a record of 229-45-14 (.819) at UCLA, while her overall coaching record, which includes two seasons at the University of Illinois, stands at 248-63-14 (.785).
Ellis' impact on the UCLA program was felt almost immediately, as she led the Bruins to the school's first-ever NCAA College Cup in just her second season as head coach in 2000. UCLA entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 6 seed that season, marching all the way to the NCAA Final against perennial power North Carolina. Although the Bruins would lose a hard-fought battle 2-1, UCLA made it clear to the rest of the country that it had arrived as one of college soccer's elite programs. Ellis was awarded the NSCAA/adidas National Coach of the Year Award for her efforts with the 2000 team.
Ellis' first Pac-10 Championship came the following season in 2001, as the Bruins finished the conference season with a 8-1 record. That season also marked the first time in program history that UCLA reached the 20-win mark, as the Bruins finished the year with a 20-3 overall record.
After narrowly missing the NCAA College Cup in 2001 and 2002, Ellis led UCLA back to the Final Four in 2003. It would begin an incredible run of seven straight appearances in college soccer's biggest event.
In addition to the program's first-ever NCAA Final appearance in 2000, Ellis has since guided the Bruins to two more trips to the championship match, as UCLA came within a win of the national title in both 2004 and 2005. The 2005 team would set the school record for wins in a season, ending the year 22-2-2 overall.
UCLA continued to enjoy tremendous success from 2006-08, making three more appearances in the NCAA College Cup. The Bruins also established themselves as the Pac-10 Conference's elite team, going undefeated in Pac-10 conference play in 2007 and 2008, becoming the only school in Pac-10 history to win six straight league titles. Ellis was rewarded for her coaching at the end of the 2007 campaign, as she was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year for the second time in her career.
A master recruiter, Ellis continues to attract some of the top players in the country to Westwood year in and year out. Ellis' recruiting classes have twice been named No. 1 overall by Soccer Buzz Magazine (2000 and 2007), while eight of her classes have been ranked in the top 10 nationally. Seven of those classes have been ranked in the top five.
In addition to her efforts in the college game, Ellis has also excelled at the international level, recently serving as assistant coach for the gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic Team at the 2008 Beijing Games. She has also enjoyed several successful coaching stints with both the U-20 and U-21 U.S. Youth National Teams, leading the U-21s to Nordic Cup titles in 2000 and 2005. She also coached her current team, the U-20s, to a CONCACAF Championship in January of this year. Ellis' other projects with U.S. Soccer include serving as a consultant with 2000 U.S. Olympic Team in Sydney, Australia, and working extensively with the Under-16 U.S. National Team.
Ellis came to Westwood after heading the University of Illinois women's soccer program for two years. In 1998, she brought the Fighting Illini to a 12-8 record and a first-ever Big-Ten Tournament berth. In the program's first year in 1997, the Illini ranked among the leaders in the Big Ten in attendance.
Prior to heading up the University of Illinois program, Ellis served as an assistant coach at the University of Virginia for one year (1996-97), at Maryland for three years (1994-96) and at North Carolina State for another three years (1988-90). As an assistant coach at North Carolina State, Ellis helped the Wolfpack secure the 1988 Atlantic Coast Conference title and an NCAA Final Four appearance. In 1993, at the University of Maryland, she helped lead the Terrapins to the 1995 NCAA quarterfinals.
A forward at the College of William & Mary from 1984-87, Ellis was a third-team All-American in 1987 and an honorable mention all-region selection in 1985. She was also a member of the Intercollegiate Soccer Association of America Senior Recognition Team in 1987. In 1984, Ellis led the Braddock Road Club in Virginia to the Under-19 national championship.
Ellis is the daughter of legendary soccer coach John Ellis, who is a former assistant coach with the U.S. Women's National Team and has directed the Soccer Academy in Manassas, Virginia since 1984. John was a longtime soccer ambassador for the British government, helping to create soccer programs worldwide. He also served as head coach for the Trinidad and Tobago national team. Ellis' brother, Paul Ellis, is also a soccer coach. In 1998, he was head coach for the Region I U-17 team. A former assistant coach at George Mason University, he currently works full-time with his father at the Soccer Academy.
Jillian Ellis grew up in Portsmouth, England and came to the United States in 1981 at the age of 15. She also lived in Singapore for two years while her father helped to develop a national soccer program in that country. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in English Literature and Composition from the College of William & Mary in 1988 and currently resides in Los Angeles.