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Sources: Arsenal block United States' approach for Joe Montemurro

Former USWNT defender Kate Markgraf joins ESPN FC to react to Jill Ellis' decision to step down as U.S. coach after winning her second World Cup.

The search for the next boss of the United States women's national team has hit a roadblock, with the United States Soccer Federation hampered in its attempts to interview Arsenal Women's head coach Joe Montemurro about the role, sources have told ESPN.

The USSF is currently in the midst of a search for a new head coach after Jill Ellis announced that she would be stepping down from the role following the conclusion of a series of "Victory Tour" matches being staged to celebrate the U.S. romping to their second consecutive Women's World Cup in July.

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Sources have told ESPN that the USSF identified and approached Montemurro, 50 -- who has expressed an interest in the role -- about interviewing for the vacant position but were prevented in doing so by his current employers, who signed him to a long-term contract extension in October 2018.

In charge of Arsenal's WSL side since 2017, Montemurro rose to prominence as a coach in his native Australia when he steered Melbourne City to back-to-back W-League titles in the club's first two years in existence, including an undefeated season in 2015-16.

Named to the head-coaching role at boyhood club Arsenal after the midseason sacking of Pedro Martínez Losa in 2017, Montemurro led the Gunners to the victory in the FA Women's League Cup and reached the final of the FA Women's FA Cup in his first season.

Joe Montemurro
Joe Montemurro has been at Arsenal since 2017.

Handed a full offseason ahead of the 2018-19 campaign, Montemurro promptly guided his side to Champions League qualification and its first WSL title since 2012, earning WSL League Managers Association Coach of the Year honours and a nomination for FIFA World Women's Coach of the Year.

With three wins from three, Arsenal currently leads the WSL -- Europe's only fully professional women's league -- in what looms as a vitally important season for the competition as it looks to capitalise on the momentum generated by the success of England at the 2019 World Cup though new streaming, scheduling and prize money initiatives.

The Gunners defeated Brighton and Hove Albion 4-0 on matchday three to move them above title rivals Manchester City, who defeated Everton 1-0, on goal difference.

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