"We all know you can play."
Coming into his first start with the Union, Jack Elliott had been with the team for not quite four months. After being selected in the fourth round of the 2017 SuperDraft, Elliott spent those four months training with the first team, playing for Bethlehem Steel FC, and earning his debut off the bench away at D.C. United. When he cracked the Starting XI for a home match against New York City FC, Andre Blake was there to keep him calm. "We all know you can play," Blake told Elliott before the match.
Coming into the match against NYCFC, Elliott had 45 minutes under his belt with the Union first team. Entering at halftime against D.C. United for an injured Richie Marquez, Elliott finished with one tackle, one clearance, with six recoveries and won every duel he entered. The rookie said the match "left him wanting more."
After one more start with Steel FC the week following his first team debut, Jim Curtin felt Elliott was ready for his first MLS start against David Villa and NYCFC. "Coach just told me not to worry too much about the stature of the players, just defend and play my game," Elliott said.
Paired up on the backline with longtime United States Men's National Team veteran Oguchi Onyewu, Elliott finished the game with seven clearances, an interception, two blocks, and three ball recoveries. His parents had even flown over from London for the game, a trip they had planned months before Elliott knew if he would even make the Matchday 18. Elliott went on to start every remaining match of the 2017 MLS season.
Check out the video above to hear straight from the players what Jack Elliott's first start meant.