sport news Meet the English-born coaches helping USA prepare for World Cup semi

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Here are two reasons why USA are the runaway favourites to win the Women's World Cup: they have lifted the trophy more times than anyone else (three), and reached the last four on more occasions than any other team (seven).  

On Tuesday night, another huge semi-final awaits Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe and Co. 

England have impressed on their way to the last four but now the challenge in front of Phil Neville's Lionesses is greater than anything they have faced so far in France.

Jill Ellis is the British-born coach masterminding USA's pursuit of Women's World Cup glory

Jill Ellis is the British-born coach masterminding USA's pursuit of Women's World Cup glory

If Neville needed any reminding of what lies ahead against the world's No 1 side, he need only ask another English-born coach masterminding her way across the Riviera.

Jill Ellis is the woman who led USA to glory back at the 2015 World Cup and, following victory over France in the last eight, the coach who now holds all the cards heading into the semi-finals.

'I have an unbelievable amount of respect for her. She is the best at the moment,' Neville has said of his counterpart. But who is Ellis, and how did she and another English-born coach arrive at the helm of US football?

Jill Ellis - US Women's coach

The 52-year-old grew up in Hampshire and used to play with her brother and other boys near Portsmouth.

But with women's football banned by the FA during her youth, a lack of opportunities forced her to look across the water. 

'I truly think if I'd have stayed in England, I'm not sure I'd would be in coaching,' she told the BBC.

Ellis grew up in Hampshire and used to play football with her brother near Portsmouth

Ellis grew up in Hampshire and used to play football with her brother near Portsmouth

'It was a rare career path in the States but it wasn't a career path (in England) for sure.'

She moved to the US in the 1980s and with that came the chance to play football 'as we know it'.

Ellis represented Fairfax’s Robinson Secondary School, Braddock Road Youth Club Bluebelles and her college, William & Mary, before embarking on a coaching career that has spanned five states and led her up the ladder of the USWNT set-up.

Following stints with the United States Under-21 and Under-20 sides, she began work as an assistant to the senior team.

In 2012 and 2014 she took interim charge of the Stars and Stripes before landing the job full-time. She has faced England five times since taking over, winning three times, losing one and drawing one. But she has never taken on her homeland in a major tournament.

'I was just fortunate to move to the States and have an opportunity to play organised football as we know it,' Ellis continued.

After coaching teams in five different states, Ellis joined the US set-up back in 2000

After coaching teams in five different states, Ellis joined the US set-up back in 2000

'What America gave me was the dream, the opportunity and the ability to follow that path... but the whole British culture I experienced growing up is still with me. I'm very grateful for that.

'Had I grown up in another country, I don't think the passion for football would be what it is, for sure.'

The fan won the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women's Football in 2015 after landing her maiden World Cup in the

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