Shy girl from England became US Soccer’s record-breaking head coach (USA)
A few hours before Sunday’s Women’s World Cup final, John Ellis will seat himself at his organ and play “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” Liverpool Football Club’s stirring anthem. A Royal Marine commando who became a football coach, the 80-year-old is no vocalist, but nevertheless he will warmly sing the words and glance at a framed photograph of his daughter, Jill. It is a ritual the Englishman goes through every time the United States plays.
The picture John Ellis has above his organ is one taken during a jubilant time for the family and its adopted country, when Jill guided the United States to World Cup victory in 2015. There may be another photo to be put above the instrument Jill bought her father some years ago when he decided to learn to play because the USWNT head coach is a match away from retaining the title and making history.
“That song says it all,” he tells CNN Sport over the phone from his Florida retirement home.
“When you’re the head coach, you’re the one on the line and that’s why I sing that song to her, so she knows her mum, her dad, her brother are always here for her. I know it sounds stupid, but that’s what I do.
“When you see your daughter out there, and the expectation and the pressure on her … America is a wonderful country to live in, but don’t lose. You’ve got to get it done.”
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