U.S. Soccer recently appointed Rob Elliott as Technical Advisor for the Atlantic region of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy on the boys’ side, demonstrating even more of a focus on the talent-rich area of the DMV for Youth National Team recruiting.
Elliott will be specifically working with players, coaches, and clubs in the D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania area. He will be U.S. Soccer’s first-ever Technical Adviser solely based in the concentrated area. Previous TA’s area of focus had been larger of the Mid-Atlantic region or the East Coast.
Providing Youth National Team officials with the information they need to make call-ups is a key part of Elliott’s position. Boys’ Development Technical Advisors within the U.S. Soccer structure are responsible for providing player specific information and scouting reports to the Director of Talent Identification and to Youth National Team staff members.
“They [U.S. Soccer] have a very clear philosophy and identification process in terms of the players that they are looking for,” Elliott told SoccerWire.com in a recent interview. “I was really impressed by how organized that part of [the process] was.”
Elliott will also work directly with the clubs in the region to help in their own development efforts. In the press release announcing Elliott’s hire U.S. Soccer outline the responsibilities of the Technical Advisor as, “support[ing] club efforts to elevate the everyday environment by providing consistent, meaningful feedback while helping identify players who deserve consideration for U.S. Soccer Training Centers and Youth National Teams. TA’s strive to create synergy and relationships with member clubs for the development of the players and the sport.
Working within a larger organizational structure and at the same time balancing the needs of coaches and players is nothing new to Elliott. Having worked with the New York Red Bulls for the past seven years first as a scout and then as their Director of Scouting he has built up an impressive C/V of accomplishments.
Part of Elliott’s responsibilities with the Red Bulls was to identify talent for the senior side, as well as their USL side, their PDL side, and their Academy program. An impressive array of players came through the Red Bulls system during that period including Matt Miazga (Chelsea/United States Men’s National Team), Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution/USMNT), Matthew Olosunde (Manchester United/United States Youth National Team), Alex Muyl (New York Red Bulls/USYNT), and Tyler Adams (NYRB/USYNT). He was also a very successful coach as well, leading the Red Bulls under-23 side to the 2017 Premier Development League title.
He is also extremely familiar with the region, given the Red Bulls involvement in the USSDA across all age levels. Elliott praised the level of play saying,“I have worked in this league that we are scouting now so I have a good idea as to what the coaches, the players, and the clubs are going through. I think it is really rich in talent so it is really exciting to be in that market and see that level of play week in and week out. Hopefully a lot of these guys get to participate in the Youth National Team system and obviously the ultimate goal: the senior National Team.”
“U.S. Soccer has made vast improvements over the last ten years and the academy system has kept progressing,” he said when speaking of the U.S. Soccer scouting system, as a whole. “I think the scouting system is becoming more and more refined every year. As we have gone through we have learned what things work and things that aren’t as efficient and you just keep growing that way.”
One way that U.S. Soccer is looking to grow is by finding players in new and different markets and getting them to play for the U.S.
“That is still a big challenge still in our country for sure,” Elliott said. “There are some initiatives that will be coming on board that I think that will help us penetrate some of those markets. I think over the next ten years that this is an area that will be of focus to the [U.S. Soccer] Federation.”
In the short-term Elliot’s looking to get to know all of the players in the region as well as learn more about the different age groups. In the long-term he is looking forward to working with the individual clubs in improving their efforts in player evaluation. “If the clubs are operating more efficiently and at a higher level then the chances of better players of coming through the pipeline also increases.”