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November Newsletter

Philadelphia Union Academy Star Joins IPZ

WARREN, NJ (November 12, 2020) — Quinn Sullivan, a versatile midfielder and top prospect within the Philadelphia Union (MLS) and USA Soccer, has signed with IPZ, the company announced today.

The 16-year-old Philadelphia native has been a mainstay within the Philadelphia Union Academy, representing the club at every age group. Most recently, Quinn played as an amateur for the professional side Philadelphia Union II, which in 2020, competed in the United Soccer League Championship (USLC), the second division of United States professional soccer.

Quinn will officially embark on his professional soccer career, starting January 1, 2021, when he joins the First Team of the Philadelphia Union. The Philadelphia Union have a history of developing young talent and were recipients of the 2020 MLS Supporters’ Shield, an achievement given to the club with the best regular season record in MLS.

“I didn’t choose IPZ. IPZ, and in particular Jeff Curtin, chose me,” said Sullivan. “Jeff has watched me play for a number of years and when the early bloomers were attracting the attention of agents and managers, Jeff saw something in me, and would come watch my games whenever he had the chance. My family and I appreciated that. It is obvious that the boutique nature of IPZ allows them to really focus on representing their clients holistically, and the proof is in the results- in a matter of months Jeff was able to secure me both a trial at Borussia Dortmund, a top German club, and a Homegrown Major League Soccer (MLS) contract with my hometown Philadelphia Union. I look forward to a long partnership with IPZ.”

“Quinn is an exceptional young talent,” said Curtin, Managing Director of IPZ. “At just sixteen years old, Quinn is ready to take the next step in his soccer career as a professional. Quinn has the talent, mindset and approach to be a great pro and we are delighted to have him officially join the IPZ family.”

See the Union’s Official Release here.

Luca Bernardi Wins the 2020 Campionato Italiano Velocità SuperSport600

Luca Bernardi, the San Marino rider of the Gomma Racing team, added two more podiums (seven out of eight races) in the historical circuit of Vallelunga in Rome, to clinch the Campionato Italiano Velocità SuperSport600 Championship.

After a tough year, Bernardi clinched the title with 152 points in only his second year participating at this event.

Along with this title, Bernardi has won the 2017 CIV Championship SuperSport 300 and the 2017 Yamaha R3 Cup.

Andrei Arlovski Adds to His Record

UFC Heavyweight and IPZ client, Andrei Arlovski, defeated Tanner Boser in the co-main event inside the Apex Las Vegas this past weekend.

Arlovski won via unanimous decision after surprising Boser with a spinning backfist in the final seconds of the second round.

“I looked at Boser and saw myself 21 years ago…He’s young, powerful, strong and hungry. I wish him good luck,” said Arlovski in an interview with ESPN after the fight.

This win marks his 19th win in the UFC’s heavyweight division, which is the most of all time. Even with this, Arlovski, now back in the top 15 rankings, has stated that his best is yet to come.

 

The Set Pieces Sits Down with Jack Elliott

From London Amateur to MLS Professional: Interview with Philadelphia Union’s Jack Elliott

By Greg Lea

The path between European football and Major League Soccer has become a well-trodden one in recent years, with Steven Gerrard, David Beckham, David Villa, Thierry Henry, Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard and Kaka among those who have crossed the Atlantic in the latter stages of their career.

It isn’t just high-profile stars in their 30s who have made the move stateside, though. Philadelphia Union centre-back Jack Elliott was born in London but has only ever played professional football in the US, having been scouted while representing an amateur team in his hometown. It’s safe to say the switch from Sunday League to MLS, via the West Virginia University team, has been a surreal one for the 22-year-old.

“It was a crazy experience playing against them,” Elliott tells The Set Pieces, referring to opponents such as David Villa, Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore, all of whom the centre-back locked horns with in his debut campaign of 2017.

“Luckily I started off easy playing my first start at home against David Villa! But it was amazing. He’s one of the toughest strikers I’ve played against. His movement and speed are still world class, making him a difficult opponent to play against.”

Trying to keep a World Cup winner quiet is a very different challenge to marking a hungover centre-forward on a mud-caked pitch in south London, but Elliott owes plenty to his experiences in the English capital’s amateur divisions.

“I played for Fulham academy for a year when I was 12, but I got released and then mainly just played Sunday league and school football. As I got older I moved into men’s football, where I was spotted by a coach [Dan Stratford] from West Virginia University – he was playing in the same game. He asked me if I wanted to go and play over there, and I had no second thoughts about it.”

It was an incredibly exciting proposition for a football-mad teenager who had long dreamt of a professional career, but the prospect of suddenly moving more than 3500 miles from home must have been daunting too. Thankfully for Elliott, he arrived in West Virginia to find a terrific setup both on and off the pitch.

“You train as a professional almost every day, working around a regular university life, and it’s surprisingly professional: the facilities are top-class, the pitches are good and you’re well looked after with gear and equipment,” the defender says of his experience in the US college system, which allows promising young athletes to combine sport and education. Does he think such an arrangement could work in Europe?

“I’m not sure it’s better in terms of producing top quality players, but it helps to catch the ones who may have slipped through the cracks of the top academies,” says Elliott, who received an academic scholarship to study Management Information Systems in the US.

“Going through the college system allows you to get a degree, which was one of the reasons I had no questions about it, but the quality of football, facilities and fans are something I might not have experienced had I stayed at home.”

The 6ft 5in stopper played 68 games for the West Virginia Mountaineers between 2013 and 2016, before being selected by Philadelphia Union in the fourth round of the 2017 SuperDraft, an annual event in which MLS clubs snap up players who have either graduated from college or been signed by the league.

“It was one of the best days of my life,” Elliott recalls. “Philadelphia was a place I’d been many times before and really enjoyed, plus it wasn’t too far from West Virginia.”

The young defender, described by Union sporting director Earnie Stewart as a “good passer who reads the game well”, was an unused substitute for early-season meetings with Vancouver Whitecaps, Toronto and Orlando City, before making his MLS bow from the bench in a 2-1 loss to D.C. United. Elliott performed well despite the disappointing result, and he soon became a regular part of manager Jim Curtin’s starting XI.

“It all happened very quickly. The second game of the season I was in the 18 [matchday squad] for the first team, and then I played 45 minutes at D.C.,” he told the club’s YouTube channel.

“It allowed the coaches to see I could handle the pressure of the league. And then the next week I was starting. It all came very quickly and I’m very thankful for it.

“When I got subbed in, I had 15 minutes to think about it. It’s not a lot of time; I was just warming up. It was good that I didn’t have time to think about it. I just went out there and played the way I play.”

It can be particularly tough for young centre-backs to establish themselves in the first team, with many managers unwilling to risk inexperienced players in such a key position. Yet by the end of the 2017 season, Elliott had made 30 appearances in MLS and racked up more minutes than all but two of his Union team-mates.

The quality of his performances caught the eye even more than the quantity. The Londoner played with a maturity which belied his tender years, as the Union finished eighth in the Eastern Conference. Elliott’s displays were so consistently impressive that he was nominated for the MLS Rookie of the Year Award, which was ultimately won by Atlanta United midfielder Julian Gressel.

“I didn’t expect to play as much [as I did], no,” he admits. “But from my first few weeks there I could see it was a place where I could belong.

“It was a good feeling,” he adds when talk turns to his third-place finish in the newcomer vote. “I’d never have expected to be there at the start of the year, so it was nice to get that sort of recognition at the end of it.”

Compatriot Aaron Jones departed the Talen Energy Stadium in November, but Elliott isn’t the only Brit in the Union squad for the 2018 campaign, which has begun with a 2-0 victory over New England Revolution and a goalless draw with Columbus Crew. Former Arsenal and Hull forward Jay Simpson is also in his second year in MLS, having moved to Philadelphia from Leyton Orient a few weeks before Elliott signed on the dotted line.

“Football in the US is still growing so obviously it isn’t as big as it is in the UK,” Elliott says of the differences between the two countries. “As kids they don’t play it every day in school and they don’t see it as much on TV. I feel kids here don’t get to play enough unstructured football, which in some ways can help to develop a player in different ways than structured coaching does.”

It’s an interesting point and one which the powers that be at the US Soccer Federation would be wise to consider as the national team attempts to bounce back from its failure to qualify for this summer’s World Cup. Elliott cannot afford to dwell on such big-picture issues for too long, though, with his focus now firmly on his second season with the Union.

“Individually I’d like to build on what I did last year and improve as a player,” he says of his hopes for the campaign ahead. “And as a team our ambition is to get to the play-offs and make a run there.”

If Elliott can replicate last season’s performances this time around, Philadelphia Union will fancy their chances of achieving that goal.

View on The Set Pieces.

Matt Danilack Drafted by the Philadelphia Union

WARREN, NJ, January 22, 2018 – Matt Danilack was selected by the Philadelphia Union with the 77th overall pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft on Sunday, January 21.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to begin my career in Philadelphia,” said Danilack. “This is one of the happiest moments of my life and a dream come true. I want to thank Jeff and IPZ for all the support thus far. I also want to thank my family, coaches, friends and everyone who has been helping me on my journey since I was a young player. I can’t wait to see where this next year takes us! There’s no better place to start my career than in Philly.”

View the Union’s release here.

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

About Zito Partners: Zito Partners builds, energizes and defends brands. A boutique firm representing a select group of clients from a range of industries, Zito Partners believes in a “ready, aim, fire” approach – understand the client…develop the appropriate strategy against the key target constituencies…and execute against the plan. And through its strategic alliance with Ketchum, Ketchum Zito Financial, Zito Partners is assisting additional clients with their financial communications needs. For more information, visit www.zitopartners.com.

Jack Elliott Trains With English Premier League Club

IPZ Athlete Prepares for 2018 MLS Season with Swansea City A.F.C.

WARREN, NJ, January 12, 2018 – Jack Elliott, 2017 MLS Rookie of the Year second runner-up and Philadelphia Union center-back, wrapped up a week-long training stint with Swansea City A.F.C. of the English Premier League (top-flight professional soccer league in England).

Elliott returned home to his native England following completion of his successful rookie campaign with the Philadelphia Union. Before travelling back to the U.S. for the start of pre-season training camp for the 2018 MLS season, Elliott was able to stay fit and have the unique experience of training in an English Premier League environment. Since being promoted to the Premier League ahead of the 2011-2012 season, the club based in Swansea, Wales has finished as high as eighth in the 2014-2015 campaign.

“It was a good experience for me to test myself against some top class opposition and see what other training environments are like, especially at the highest level,” said Elliott. “It was good preparation for preseason.”

“The English Premier League is widely considered to be the top professional soccer league in the world,” said IPZ Managing Director Jeff Curtin. “The quality of player, competition, and pressure within the league creates an environment that, I think, is great for young players to experience. Through Swansea City, we had the opportunity to give Jack this experience, which I think will only help him as he prepares for the 2018 season with the Philadelphia Union.”

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

About Zito Partners: Zito Partners builds, energizes and defends brands. A boutique firm representing a select group of clients from a range of industries, Zito Partners believes in a “ready, aim, fire” approach – understand the client…develop the appropriate strategy against the key target constituencies…and execute against the plan. And through its strategic alliance with Ketchum, Ketchum Zito Financial, Zito Partners is assisting additional clients with their financial communications needs. For more information, visit www.zitopartners.com.

SoccerAmerica Names Jack Elliott 6th Best MLS Centerback

No team gets very far without a solid, reliable set of centerbacks, and in many cases the abilities of the individuals are not as important as how well they work together.

An increased popularity of three-man back lines changes the responsibilities and roles of those in that last line of defense in front of the goalkeeper, yet the basic attributes are unchanged. Centerbacks must be reliable tacklers, solid markers, and tough in the air at both ends of the field. Positioning and anticipation can make up for a relative lack of pace on balls played over the top or into an open channel.

Some players will toggle between the central slots in a four-man back line, yet most prefer one side or the other. The players listed here are primarily right-sided and have been most successful on that side of the defense. If a player appeared mainly as the middle man of a three-defender system, he is listed here.

SA Top 10: Centerbacks (Right)
1. Ike Opara (Sporting KC)
2. Kendall Waston (Vancouver)
3. Drew Moor (Toronto FC)
4. Adolfo Machado (Houston)
5. Johan Kappelhof (Chicago)
6. Jack Elliott (Philadelphia)
7. Roman Torres (Seattle)
8. Victor Cabrera (Montreal)
9. Victor Bernardez (San Jose)
10. Michael Parkhurst (Atlanta United)

View more online: https://www.socceramerica.com/publications/article/76183/mls-positional-rankings-centerbacks-right-opar.html

Union’s Jack Elliott an MLS Rookie of the Year Finalist

Union centerback Jack Elliott earned some well-deserved recognition on Tuesday for his strong debut season, as he was named a finalist for Major League Soccer’s Rookie of the Year award.

Elliott surprisingly became a stalwart of the team’s defense this year. He was drafted in the fourth round out of West Virginia, which is rare territory to find potential pros. Elliott was one of just two picks in this year’s fourth round who saw any playing time in MLS. None of last year’s fourth-round picks have broken through yet, and only four fourth-round picks from 2015 have done so.

The 22-year-old Englishman was quickly thrown into the fire, making his Union debut on April 1. He ended up playing in 30 of the Union’s 34 league games, making 29 starts, and played every minute in all but three of the starts. He also started and played every minute of the team’s two U.S. Open Cup games. His disciplinary record was sterling: just four yellow cards and one red card.

View more online: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/soccer/philadelphia-union-jack-elliott-mls-rookie-award-julian-gressel-atlanta-20171031.html

Jack Elliott Nominated for Rookie of the Year

The league’s worst kept secret is now official.

Jack Elliott is one of 17 players nominated for AT&T Rookie of the Year, and he holds one of the best, if not the best, case out of the bunch.

Selected in the fourth round at 77th overall in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, Elliott was not expected to be a repeat contributor for the team. Players picked that late in the draft are usually projects who spend time developing their game before becoming everyday players. And that’s how Elliott’s season looked at the beginning.

Elliott played a match for Bethlehem Steel FC, where he notched an assist in his first professional assist. He then spent two games in the game day 18 for the Union, before being thrusted into his MLS debut at halftime in the Union’s fourth game of the season, after Richie Marquez was forced to leave the match.

He performed well, but was out of the starting lineup the next match. Against New York City FC, Elliott earned his first start of his career. He hasn’t left the starting XI since.

Since his start, the Union rolled off the longest winning streak in team history, a six-game and four-game unbeaten streak, the team’s longest shutout streak, and set the record for most home wins in a season. He’s been a part of a backline which has allowed the second fewest road goals in team history, and helped Andre Blake record his lowest goals against average in his career.

In terms of individual production, Elliott is near the top of nearly every Union defensive stat, and is one of the best of all MLS defenders in blocks and clearances. He also has been a workhorse on the field, logging the third-most minutes played on the Union.

Jack Elliott’s play has certainly placed him in the running for Rookie of the Year, and now it’s official. Now it’s time for him to become the first defender since Austin Berry in 2012 to win the award.

To see the full list of nominees for Rookie of the Year, click here.

View online: https://www.philadelphiaunion.com/post/b/2017/10/13/jack-elliott-nominated-rookie-year

Aaron Jones in Consideration for USL Rookie of the Year

There are a lot of good potential nominees for Rookie of the Year in Steel FC’s squad, with the likes of goalkeeper Jake McGuire, midfielders Adam Najem and Santi Moar, and forwards Marcus Epps and Chris Nanco among them for the playoff contender. Arguably the side’s most consistent player has been Jones, who leads the team in minutes played and has put in stellar performances on the back line as Steel FC has competed for a first trip to the postseason.

Jones has won a team-high 38 tackles at an 80.9 percent success rate, sits second with 51 interceptions, and has also won more than 55 percent of duels and almost 70 percent of aerial duels. Additionally, the value Jones brings from set pieces has seen him tie for the team-lead with 31 key passes alongside Moar, and also notch a pair of standout goals from free kicks.

View more online: http://www.uslsoccer.com/news_article/show/841152?referrer_id=2333971

Jack Elliott worthy of Rookie of Year consideration, Curtin says

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

Philly Voice: Union’s Jack Elliott quietly playing himself into Rookie of the Year conversation

When Montreal and Real Salt Lake passed in the third round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, the Union kept looking for that late-round gem.

They found it with the 77th overall pick, a 6’5″ center back and defensive midfielder from West Virginia University that no one had really heard of.

Jack Elliott was the last of the five Union draft picks to sign a professional contract, but he inked his deal with the senior team and not Bethlehem Steel, where we all thought the 21-year-old London native might start his professional career.

That wasn’t the case, and Elliott quickly found himself higher up the depth chart than anyone had imagined, jumping Ken Tribbett as fourth in line with Oguchi Onyewu already stepping in for the injured Josh Yaro.

If a starter went down, Elliott was the next man up, and that’s exactly what happened on April 1st when Richie Marquez came out at halftime in the 2-1 loss at D.C. United.

Elliott went back to the bench for one game only, then got a chance to start on April 14th and hasn’t relinquished his position since, playing 13 straight games since claiming the RCB job.

The Union now have six wins, four losses, and three draws in Elliott’s 13 starts, conceding 12 goals and scoring 20 for a +8 goal differential. He’s contributed to six clean sheets and hasn’t been carded in nine straight games, forming an unlikely but incredibly successful partnership with a 35-year-old veteran.

Read the full story here: http://www.phillyvoice.com/unions-jack-elliott-quietly-playing-himself-into-rookie-of-the-year-conversation/