Fuel Soccer Talk: Replacing excellence is never easy; Players talk about Jill Ellis; Youth served in NPSL

Picking the right coach to replace the successful Jill Ellis

There are about 24 hours when something happens to reflect on what just happened before the “what’s next” questions begin to circulate. Longtime and successful women’s coach Jill Ellis recently announced her decision to move on. It was mission accomplished and job well done for Coach Ellis. She leaves the U.S. team in excellent shape with a solid group of veterans and some amazing young players on the horizon.

So who is the right person to continue the incredible level Ellis took them to? Glad you asked.

In other words, what’s next?

Graham Hays of presented his list of candidates. Among the names on the list was Steve Swanson (Virginia/USWNT). Here is what Hays had to say about Swanson: “Given U.S. struggles in youth tournaments of late, Swanson turned in one of the program’s more impressive coaching performances in winning the 2012 U-20 World Cup. He had talent to work with — Morgan Brian, Crystal Dunn, Julie Ertz and Sam Mewis — but so did U.S. teams that fared far worse in youth soccer’s signature international event. That should ease concerns about the lack of a title in his time at Virginia and Stanford. His college teams are known for playing technical soccer, and players love him. After serving as an assistant under Ellis, he knows the pool as well as anyone other than Gustavsson.”


What qualities are important when looking for a new coach?

Lavelle, Mewis share thoughts on losing their coach

Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis join Doug Gottlieb to discuss the U.S. Women’s National team winning their 4th World Cup. They give their thoughts on the road to victory, the criticism they received on celebrating and head coach Jill Ellis stepping down as head coach.

What effect will Ellis’ decision to step down mean to the USWNT?

NPSL Asheville City SC defender Jamie Smith honored

The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) is proud to announce that Asheville City SC defender Jamie Smith has been named the NPSL Young Player of the Year. This award is given to the league’s top under-23 player, regardless of position. “I’m very happy to receive this award,” Smith said. “With so many top players playing in the NPSL it means a lot to be considered. I would like to thank my family, friends, and everyone involved at Asheville City SC for helping me achieve this. An extra thank you to the players, staff, and supporters, without them this would not have been achievable.”

Smith played in 10 games (10 starts) in 2019, finishing with four clean sheets, two goals, and one assist. He earned NPSL Conference XI, Region XI, and National XI honors.

“We couldn’t be more delighted for Jamie,” Asheville City SC men’s head coach Mick Giordano said. “He’s a captain and leader for our club so it’s fantastic for him to earn this well-deserved
award. Jamie was an integral part of us only conceding 10 goals all season while helping set a new club record with five clean sheets. He’s an intelligent footballer and helped lead by example. This is truly a wonderful moment for Jamie and our club.”

LET’S TALK: OK, now you’ve read what’s on my mind…what are your thoughts on the above or any other “football” happenings?

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