Portsmouth’s Ellis will deliver World Cup glory

The USA Women's team will be hoping for more reasons to celebrate against Japan tomorrow night (midnight)   Picture: John Woods/The Canadian Press

The USA Women's team will be hoping for more reasons to celebrate against Japan tomorrow night (midnight) Picture: John Woods/The Canadian Press

Kyle Bennett, centre, celebrates scoring in the 4-0 win at Colchester last month Picture: Joe Pepler

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I BELIEVE that we will win.

It is the chant synonymous with football in the USA, or ‘soccer’ as it is known Stateside, that has been heard around the world – quite literally – this past month.

President Barack Obama himself tweeted the hashtag #shebelieves and it is all in support and expectation of one team, one objective and one woman in particular.

Across the Atlantic all eyes are firmly fixed on Jill Ellis, coach of the USA Women’s national team, as she bids to end 16 years of hurt in tomorrow night’s (midnight) Women’s World Cup final in Vancouver, Canada.

The pioneers of female participation in the sport, America stands on the verge of reclaiming its biggest prize – and exacting revenge upon a nation who deprived them of that very glory four years ago.

Japan, who agonisingly beat them in a final penalty shootout in 2011, lie in wait once more.

But Ellis’ proud father John, who raised Jill and son Paul with wife Margaret in Cowplain before moving the family Stateside, has no doubts that his daughter will deliver on the biggest stage of all.

Speaking to The News from his Florida home, Ellis said: ‘Do I believe that we will win?

‘The answer is yes, I do believe that.

‘But I know Jill is not underestimating Japan.

Portsmouth's Jill Ellis, coach of USA Women's national team   Picture: US Soccer/ ISI Photos

Portsmouth's Jill Ellis, coach of USA Women's national team Picture: US Soccer/ ISI Photos

‘I’m not saying it is going to be an easy game but I expect the USA to win.

‘It’s been a long time coming.

‘But I feel strongly that they will get the result.’

Ellis has spoken of his pride at his daughter’s journey to stardom.

Do I believe that we will win? The answer is yes, I do believe that. But I know Jill is not underestimating Japan.

John Ellis, father of USA women’s national football team coach Jill Ellis

It has not all been straightforward for the former Padnell Junior school pupil, though, who has faced criticism from the notoriously harsh US media since she was awarded the biggest job in women’s football in May 2014.

But the United States’ semi-final victory over tournament favourites Germany silenced any remaining doubters.

The USA’s strength in defence shone again in a superb 2-0 win as they extended their run without conceding a goal to 513 minutes – 28 minutes off the all-time World Cup record.

Not that Ellis could care less what people want to write about her.

The pressure of the job is one father John knows only too well, having been appointed assistant boss of the USA women’s team under the stewardship of April Heinrichs in 2000.

He said: ‘My wife Margaret and I lived in Cowplain and we are still in contact with a lot of our friends who live over there.

‘We tell them how proud we are. How can you not be as a parent?

‘It (Jill’s status and achievement) is not something you can plan for.

‘It is not something you expect.

‘You see this person, your child, go out into the world and as parents we have a sensititvity and don’t like to see her subjected to a lot of criticism.

‘But take it from me she doesn’t read any of that nonsense. They are all still guessing.

‘That’s the beauty of Jill, she has such a technical and tactical mind and her opponents can’t work her out.’

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