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Blazing the Trail for Future Generations

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

For more than 30 years, the month of March has been recognized as Women’s History Month - an opportunity to commemorate and encourage the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.

At the North Puget Sound League, we wanted to put the spotlight on just a few of our country’s most notable women soccer coaches. They’re among the elite, only 36.4% of soccer coaches employed in the United States are women.

Jill Ellis

Photo credit: National Soccer Hall of Fame

When looking at her impressive resume, it’s hard to believe Ellis didn’t start playing organized soccer until the age of 15 when her family moved to the U.S. in 1981. She often played with her brothers when they needed an extra player, but in 1970s England, soccer was considered “unladylike.”

Ellis went on to coach at five universities before moving on to the national stage and garnering the title of “winningest” United States National Women’s Team head coach in history. In 2017, she became the first woman to hold the United States Soccer Federation Professional Coaching License and will be inducted to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in May 2023. Ellis is currently focused on working with the United States Soccer Federation to increase the number of women in coaching.

Kim Wyant

Photo credit:

New York University’s (NYU) Men’s Soccer Team Head Coach Kim Wyant is one of only two women to lead a men’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) soccer program. In 1985, she played the position of goalkeeper for the first ever United States National Women’s Team, recorded the team’s first shutout and win the following year, and went on to play 16 more international games for the U.S. In addition to coaching at NYU, Wyant also is currently the head coach for the Brooklyn City FC women’s soccer team.

Julianne Sitch

Photo credit: UChicago Athletics and Recreation

Currently the head coach of the University of Chicago’s men’s soccer team, Sitch is the other one of only two women to lead a men’s NCAA soccer program. In 2022, she also was the first woman to lead a men’s soccer team to a national championship. The Illinois native boasts a successful professional career, playing for teams like Melbourne Victory FC and the Chicago Red Stars. She has since returned to the Chicago Red Stars as assistant first team coach.

What began in 1981 as a week-long celebration has grown to become so much more over the years, allowing us the chance to applaud the contributions and achievements of trailblazing American women in the fields of athletics and many others.

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