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England football manager Phil Neville has dismissed rumors that he has had any connections to the US women's national team. The news came at a time when Jill Ellis, the head coach of the US soccer squad who led the team to victory during two World Cups, announced plans to step down.
The Daily Mail, a daily newspaper in the United Kingdom announced that Neville may now be looking for Ellis' job. This happened only slightly earlier before England played against Norway and defeated the Scandinavians 2-1.
Not surprisingly, these rumors were accepted as a plausible development both for Neville's career as well as the future of U.S. women's soccer in the United States. With the United States' women's soccer team so high on the Fifa world rankings, the stakes for the team will be high. Meanwhile, Ellis is named as one of the contenders for Fifa's women's coach of the year award along with Dutch counterpart Sarina Wiegman.
England's women's team is part of the Fifa standings even though the team has a long way to go still until it consolidates its power at the top. Interestingly, though, Neville didn't dismiss his own ambitions about the U.S. Team.
Rather, he just said for BBC Sport that there had been no interest on the part of the American squad, or to put this way – nobody had contacted him to invite him to negotiate. Neville has quite a bit to sort out at home as well.
He is still the coach for the national English women's soccer team and that puts him tied to the job until at least 2021 when his contract expires. On his immediate plans, however, is his desire to put England on top of the 2020 Olympics. He even said so:
"My focus is on winning us a gold medal in the Olympics and beyond that. It's flattering because it means you are doing a good job, but my focus is England."
Neville similarly said that he was rather taken aback by people who constantly asked him what his next move would be. While Neville understood that each career had a trajectory, he has responded to such questions tersely that there is hardly a better job than the one he had at the moment.
There are many reasons behind this decision as well. Phil is given a lot of leeway when it comes to the national team, and this is backed by the country's soccer body. This translates into complete freedom of training the team any way he sees fit.
"I'm committed to the three-year project. I don't see another job that would give me what I'm in now. As long as the FA back me the way they've backed me, and the players show the same kind of thirst for learning, then I'll be here for the three years."
Meanwhile, the coming months will also be important for the U.S. Women's soccer team. After winning convincingly in Paris, France, the team needs to build on this success further. The stakes are high for U.S. soccer players, especially when people are now beginning to think that women should be paid the same money as men.
There has been a lot of pressure on FIFA to raise the Women's World Cup prize pool to which the world's governing body for football has responded positively.