Happy homecoming for Elliott

NEW ZEALAND’S World Cup hero Simon Elliott is raring to return to professional club football after signing with Wellington Phoenix FC.

NEW ZEALAND-S World Cup hero Simon Elliott is raring to return to professional club football after signing with Wellington Phoenix FC.

The vastly experienced international midfielder, born and raised in Wellington, has joined the Phoenix as an injury replacement player for Oscar Roberto “Toto” Cornejo.

Pending international transfer clearance, Elliott will be eligible to make his debut for the Phoenix in their Hyundai A-League 2010/11 midweek clash with Brisbane Roar at Westpac Stadium this Wednesday night.

Former Fulham player Elliott has been without a club since leaving American Major League Soccer club San Jose Earthquakes following the 2009 season, despite starring for the All Whites at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

“It-s nice to be back in Wellington,” Elliott, 36, said. “When I left (in 1999) there wasn-t a lot here in terms of professional football, so it-s kind of fun there-s a pro team here in the old hometown.

“It-s a short little stint but it-s exciting to be back and part of what-s going on at the Phoenix.”

Elliott has spent much of his professional career in the United States- MLS, playing 122 games for the LA Galaxy from 1999-2003, 59 games for Columbus Crew from 2004-05 and 15 games for San Jose in 2009.

In between his two stints in the MLS, Elliott spent two seasons with English Premier League club Fulham from 2006-08.

Elliott-s long club career, along with 68 internationals to his credit, means he brings exceptional experience to the Phoenix.

“I-m a player with a bit of experience who can hopefully accentuate what-s already in the squad. I don-t think anyone-s worried about the lack of quality - there are plenty of quality players in the squad.

“I-m here to help. For example, look at the young guys here. You-re going to need those young guys at some point. Maybe it-s tomorrow, maybe it-s next year, you don-t know. But at some point they-re going to have to step up and be ready. For me it-s a matter of getting the best out of myself and helping accentuate what-s already here.

“We have to help each other achieve everything we can and that means winning games at home and winning games away and getting into the playoffs at the end of the regular season.”

Elliott will hook up with several of his All Whites teammates at the Phoenix. Tim Brown, Ben Sigmund, Leo Bertos, Tony Lochhead and Mark Paston were in the New Zealand squad in South Africa, with Phoenix head coach Ricki Herbert also in charge of the All Whites.

Elliott will wear the number 26 jersey for the Phoenix.


Date of birth:

June 10, 1974 in Wellington Height, weight: 1.80m, 80kg Playing position: Midfielder

Club history: 2009 San Jose Earthquakes (US), 2006-08 Fulham (Eng), 2004-05 Columbus Crew (US), 1999-2003 LA Galaxy (US), 1999 Boston Bulldogs (US), 1997 Western Suburbs (NZ), 1996-97 Miramar Rangers (NZ), 1993-95 Wellington Olympic (NZ), 1992 Wellington United (NZ)

Representative: 1995- New Zealand senior team (68 games, six goals)), NZ under-23, NZ under-20