The Philadelphia Union added another player from their 2017 MLS SuperDraft class on Friday with the signing of former West Virginia star Jack Elliott.
The 6-foot-5 defender and midfielder was selected in the fourth round with the 77th overall pick in January.
“When you look at Jack, the first thing you notice is his height, an asset that we believe will serve him well as a professional,” Sporting Director Earnie Stewart said in a news release. “He is a good passer who reads the game well. He has performed well in preseason and we look forward to working with him this season and beyond."
The 21-year-old London native appeared in 68 matches, recording six goals and five assists during his college career in Morgantown. He also made seven appearances in the Premier Development League last summer with South Florida Surf, which are coached by former Philadelphia Union Academy coach Peter Fuller.
Prior to coming to the U.S. for college, he played for the Old Wilsonians Sports Club in Bromley, England.
He’s the fourth of the Union’s five SuperDraft picks to sign with the organization. Santi Moar signed with Bethlehem Steel FC and Marcus Epps and Aaron Jones have both signed first team contracts. Chris Nanco has been offered a USL deal and played in Bethlehem’s first preseason match on Wednesday.
Elliott started and played the full 90 in a 1-0 win over Tampa Bay Rowdies on February 18 and came off the bench in the 63rd minute of the 2-2 draw with Montreal Impact on Wednesday.
“To go from playing in England, come through college, to make it here has been a dream come true so far,” Elliott said in a video on PhiladelphiaUnion.com. “It feels great when the hard work pays off and you get the acknowledgement you’ve been looking for.”
He joins fellow West Virginia alum Raymon Gaddis (2008-11) on the first team roster.
“He’s been one of the best to ever come through this program and we are extremely proud that he gets to move on to the next level as a professional with the Philadelphia Union,” West Virginia head coach Marlon LeBlanc said in a statement.
Big picture, this signing brings the first team roster to 30 players - with a third goalkeeper still needed. Aaron Jones and Elliott will both require international roster spots, which would be two more than the allotted eight as things currently stand (International players include Roland Alberg, Ilsinho, Fabian Herbers, Haris Medunjanin, Jay Simpson, Giliano Wijnaldum and Josh Yaro). This is likely to change though as one or two returning players are expected to be getting green cards soon.
The roster size is expected to be expanded this year to 30 with two additional spots being reserved for homegrown players.
Like fellow draft picks Epps and Jones, Elliott will likely spend the better part of the season getting minutes on loan with Bethlehem Steel.