Women's Soccer

Ellis honored to lead review of women’s soccer calendar

Jill Ellis hopes to achieve worldwide access and opportunities for women’s soccer by putting players at the heart of decisions about the calendar.

The first 32-team FIFA Women’s World Cup will be played in 2023 in Australia and New Zealand. So far, however, nothing is set in stone for the calendar up to that point. Jill Ellis, president of the San Diego NWSL team, has started a review of the calendar which involves more than just the coaches, but also players.

“We’re going to be looking at everything from the technical side, from the view of the coach: not just the current coaches but former coaches too,” Ellis said. “We’re going to look at the players’ view, referees, sports scientists, administration and certainly the fans.

The objective of the evaluation process

The evaluation process will mirror the men’s soccer format and will be guided by FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, Arsène Wenger. The idea is to experience growth within the sport that will be sustainable in the future. Thus, the process will consider views from stakeholders in the women’s game before making any final decisions.

Since the first FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991, with 12 national teams competing, women’s soccer has grown significantly. The goal of this evaluation process is to allow the sport to grow even further and expand its global competitiveness.

"My charge with this group is to look at the overarching calendar and look at ways to grow our World Cup, and make sure that the [FIFA Women’s] World Cup is still incredibly special, but also appreciating that it has been, and is, a conduit to growth in our sport,” Ellis explained. “So, how do we balance that? How do we look at that? That’s going to be part of the conversation and the discussion. Also, how do we grow the opportunity for a player that has never experienced something as special as a World Cup. That’s going to be our task.”