Head coach Jill Ellis of the United States speaks during the United States Women's National Team Media Day ahead of the 2019 Women's World Cup at Twitter NYC on May 24, 2019 in New York City.

Head coach Jill Ellis of the United States speaks during the United States Women's National Team Media Day ahead of the 2019 Women's World Cup at Twitter NYC on May 24, 2019 in New York City. (Mike Lawrie/Getty Images/TNS)

As a schoolgirl growing up in southern England, Jill Ellis couldn't play competitive soccer. It wasn't that girls weren't allowed. It was just that, given the attitudes of the 1970s, no one had thought to organize teams for them.

It wasn't ladylike, Ellis' mother, Margaret, once explained.

That changed when Ellis moved with her family to Virginia as a teenager, where she not only joined her high school's team but led it to a state title.

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