If anybody knows how to win, it’s Jill Ellis.
The United States Women’s National Team coach led the program to its second-straight FIFA Women’s World Cup championship last month and compiled a 102-7-18 record with the team.
Though Ellis has called it a career with the USWNT — she announced that she will step down after their five-game exhibition tour this summer — the Miami Dolphins are hoping her coaching experience can leave an impact on their team this season.
The Dolphins invited Ellis, who lives in the Miami area, to speak at training camp on Tuesday afternoon — and she had some high praise for the team after watching practice.
“There’s two reasons our team won the world championship,” Ellis told the team. “First, every single day in training, the No. 1 and No. 2 team in the world trained against each other … to see you guys out here, after they’ve done away with pads and other teams, to see you guys out here kicking the shit out of each other every minute, I love it because you will be stronger and better against your opponents. So that’s fantastic.”
Ellis doesn’t have any NFL experience under her belt, but that didn’t stop newly hired Dolphins coach Brian Flores from inviting her to camp.
“Anytime you can get someone of her leadership, experience and her expertise, it’s great for the team,” Flores said, via USA Today. “I spent a lot of time with her. She’s as impressive of a coach as I’ve been around. I look forward to spending more time with her.”
The Dolphins have struggled over the past decade. The team has reached the playoffs just once since 2009, and only finished once with a winning record in that same timespan. Flores marks the sixth head coach to lead the organization since 2008, too, and is tasked with creating a lasting culture not seen in South Florida in quite some time.
Though one speech certainly isn’t going to turn things around on its own, it can’t hurt.
Like Flores, the rest of the team was just as eager to listen to her, too.
“Whenever you have a champion around, you want to hear what they have to say,” safety T.J. McDonald said, via USA Today. “Anyone who’s reached the top of their profession like she has, obviously has a lot of knowledge. It makes sense to tune in.”
And when it comes time for the Dolphins to take the field this fall, they can count on Ellis to be tuning in.
“I’m super excited,” Ellis told the team. “I live down in Palmetto (Bay), but I can’t wait to come to a freaking game and cheer you guys on. I wish you all the best.”
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