The Latest: US coach Jill Ellis knows she’s made dad proud
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) The latest from the Women’s World Cup final (all times local):
Jill Ellis has no doubt she’s made her dad proud.
John Ellis served as a commando in the British Marines, and had a long career as a coach, before moving the family to Virginia when Jill was a young girl.
The U.S. coach has relied on her father’s advice at the Women’s World Cup. Ellis faced criticism early on for the team’s stagnant offense. But step by step throughout the tournament, the Americans have come together.
Now the United States is in the final facing Japan, the team that beat them four years ago at the World Cup in Germany.
Ellis has proven adept at shutting out the noise, saying her dad told her when she got into coaching that ”50 percent will be with you and 50 percent will be against you.”
John Ellis is not in Canada for the final. But the 76-year-old does send his daughter texts reading, ”Three deep breaths. Keep going.”
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Vancouver around midday Sunday and met with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper prior to attending the Women’s World Cup final between Japan and the U.S.
Biden led a U.S. delegation to the final that included his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman, and two former U.S. soccer stars: Mia Hamm and Cobi Jones. Also traveling with the vice president: three of his grandchildren and President Barack Obama’s daughter Sasha, according to a pool report.
Jill Biden led the delegation to the final in 2011 in Germany which the U.S. lost to Japan, but her husband was absent from that trip.
Japan was reeling in the wake of the destructive tsunami that struck the country in March 2011. Its women’s soccer team had a World Cup in Germany to prepare for while the country was trying to rebuild.
One of the opposing countries that became critical in helping Japan prepare for that World Cup it eventually won with friendlies and joint practices: The United States.
Japan coach Norio Sasaki said before Sunday’s final that he was thankful for how the U.S. helped Japanese soccer during a ”tough situation.”
This will be the third straight major final between the countries with Japan winning the World Cup in 2011 and the U.S. winning the Olympic final in 2012. The Japanese women became stars and a rallying point for their country in the wake of the tsunami, but interest in the team has waned in the years since.
”If we can win, we can make soccer a part of Japanese culture, not just a fad,” Japan captain Aya Miyama said.
Vancouver is awash in the stars and stripes.
American fans filled the streets of Vancouver on Sunday ahead of the Women’s World Cup final between Japan and the United States.
A large number of those fans came from the Pacific Northwest, with easy access from the soccer hotbeds of Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Sounders, Timbers, Seattle Reign and Portland Thorns jerseys were scattered among the crowd of American jerseys with the names ”Wambach,” ”Leroux” and ”Morgan” across the back.
But not all were locals. One family riding the train Sunday morning decided to have a family reunion in Vancouver for the final. One part of the family was from Virginia, the other from California. They bought their tickets for the final at halftime of the U.S. semifinal match against Germany when the game was still tied 0-0 in the hopes the U.S. would prevail.
They turned out to be right.