"I just assumed that they were finished picking ... I shut my laptop and stopped watching and 5, 10 minutes later my dad texted me 'I see you're going to Philly.'" 29 starts and over 2,500 on-field minutes later, Jack Elliott finished second in Rookie of the Year voting. The 77th-overall pick was brought on as a halftime sub at D.C. United in the fourth match of the season and started all but one game after that.
Elliott's 2,621 minutes played put him third on the team, behind veterans Haris Medunjanin and CJ Sapong. He ranked second among our defenders in tackles with 56 on the year and led the team in clearances with 150 (the next highest on the squad was 105).
After a match late in the season, Jim Curtin made his vote for Rookie of the Year clear. "He's been one of our best players this year. He is, for me again, the Rookie of the Year. He's been great … whether it's been on the right side or the left side of center back. He's been a real rock back there for us and has been a leader,” Curtin said.
Curtin wasn't the only one to see this in Elliott. Away at New York Red Bulls in a nationally televised September match, Elliott made a strong play on NYRB's Gonzalo Verón to preserve a clean sheet. Taylor Twellman praised Elliott's poise on the play, calling it "textbook defending" by the rookie and adding that Elliott showed "real composure for a young player."
Elliott got his name on the score sheet once this season on a trip to San Jose, scoring late in the first half to bring the game even and help earn a point on the road. He assisted Alejandro Bedoya's goal at home against Atlanta for his second point of the season.
Elliott said coming into 2017, he "was just coming in to earn a spot, and then to push for playing time." With game-saving goal-line clearances throughout the season, Elliott locked down his spot on the backline and made a strong case to be named IBX Live Fearless Player of the Year.