Jill Ellis: Subs are gamechangers, not reserves
Written by Simon Austin — September 22, 2019
WORLD-CUP WINNING coach Jill Ellis says she refers to players on the bench as “gamechangers” not reserves.
Ellis, who stepped down as coach of the USA women’s team after winning a second straight World Cup this summer, was speaking at Fifa’s conference analysing the tournament in Milan this weekend.
She explained: “We definitely had a strategy in terms of making every single player in the 23 feel important. When we put up our starting 11 the night before (the game), instead of calling them reserves, we called them gamechangers, and we talked to that group a lot about being ready to step in.
“When we broke down the game the following day, I started every single presentation with images not of the goals being scored, but of the bench celebrating those goals.
“It was just a messaging of making sure all those players understood it would take everybody, that everyone’s of value, that everyone was needed.”
Ellis, who was born in Portsmouth and moved to the United States at the age of 15, said every member of the USA squad had been important in terms of offering a “blend of talent” and “different tools”.
She highlighted their second game, against Chile, which they won 3-0 with what was described as a second-string team.
“Certainly in the Chile game, the ability to play a different group (was important),” she said. “That was because the whole time leading up to this, we made sure those players had got the experience.
“A player like (midfielder) Rose Lavelle, she became important, because she’s a player that can operate in tight spaces. She’s a tremendous player, she gives us a slightly different dimension.
“When we looked at our midfield, it was really looking at different profiles of players in there and Rose was very unique, she gave us nice blend of talent in there. “That’s the beauty of what you get when you have a deep bench, is you can really start to mix the pieces. It’s almost like different tools from the bench when you need it.”
Fifa published a 105-page Technical Study Group report about the tournament, which you can read HERE.