FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The Philadelphia Union have never had a Rookie of the Year winner, though Jim Curtin thinks that could change very soon.
Philly’s coach declared as such after his side’s 3-0 loss at the New England Revolution last Saturday, one where first-year center back Jack Elliott was a bright spot on an otherwise dreary night.
“For me, I think he’s been the Rookie of the Year,” Curtin said of Elliott. “He’s played at that level and I thought he was excellent again tonight.”
When asked about his coach’s remarks, the 6-foot-5 Elliott responded true to character: Humble, soft spoken and driven.
“It’s nice to hear that kind of praise from the coach,” Elliott said. “It doesn’t really change anything; I’ve still got to perform every week. Nothing is decided. To be of that caliber you have to perform all the way through the season. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Still, it’s hard not to reflect upon how the 21-year-old is of a different mold and backstory than Cyle Larin and Jordan Morris, MLS’s last two Rookie of the Year winners. The former is a star for Orlando City SC, while the latter just scored the game-winning goal in the Gold Cup final for the US national team.
Elliott, meanwhile, was drafted in the fourth round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft after playing at West Virginia University. He was, at best, a long shot for even making the roster, but now he’s started 17 consecutive games in the heart of the Union’s defense.
It’s a trajectory that few expected, and Elliott himself was quick to shy away from praise when asked about the key to his success.
“Just going through the same routine every week,” Elliott said. “Eating healthy, sleeping, all that kind of stuff that helps you perform. Then obviously going out every day and competing against our boys in training and at the weekend against other teams.”
Read the full story here: https://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2017/07/30/jack-elliott-worthy-rookie-year-consideration-curtin-says