In continuation of its activities to break gender barriers and promote female soccer in Liberia, the Monrovia Football Academy (MFA) and the U.S. Embassy Monrovia has announced that the Coach of the U.S Women’s National Team, Jill Ellis, accompanied by her team’s goalkeeper,
Ashlyn Harris, will be visiting the MFA from November 29 – December 2.
Harris is currently the goalkeeper for the United States women’s national soccer team and Orlando Pride of the US National Women’s Soccer League. She first appeared for the United States women’s team on March 11, 2013 and has since made eight total appearances for the team.
Harris was a member of the team that represented the United States at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
Harris played college soccer for the University of North Carolina’s Tar Heels women’s soccer team and helped the team win three NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championships in her four years at the University, according to Wikipedia.
According to the MFA, Ellis and Harris will be visiting as sport envoys and are being sponsored by the U.S. Embassy, near Monrovia, U.S. Soccer, and Sports United, which is the Department of State’s division devoted to sports diplomacy.
In addition to contributing to MFA’s football training and academic classes, Ellis and Harris will also speak at several U.S. Embassy-sponsored events on leadership and women’s empowerment.
Ellis was recently named Monrovia Football Academy Ambassador, and expressed her excitement about the upcoming trip, the MFA said.
“I’m thrilled that Ashlyn and I have the opportunity to visit Liberia and support Monrovia Football Academy. They’re doing ground breaking work by giving girls the chance to play football, and we want to help out in whatever way we can. We’re also excited to speak on leadership and interact with some of Liberia’s most influential public figures. Huge thanks to U.S. Embassy Monrovia and Sports United for making this happen,” MFA quotes Ellis.
The MFA added that girls in Liberia suffer from discrimination, but expressed the hope that the U.S women’s coach’s visit to Liberia and telling her story has the power to literally change the way female student-athletes see the future.
“Jill’s story is special. As a girl growing up in Portsmouth, UK, in the 1970s, she was not allowed to play football simply because she was a girl. That finally changed at the age of 15, and Jill embarked on a journey that brought her to the height of world football. This will be an
incredible opportunity for our students, staff, and wider community to meet one of the most recognizable figures in women’s sport,” the MFA said.
Photos by MFA