Elliott accepts new mentor role at Chivas USA

Fraser brings ex-teammate to Carson to help build new culture

Simon Elliott criss-crossed the planet last year in search of
soccer glory.

From the Bay Area to Los Angeles and from South Africa to New
Zealand, Elliott logged tens of thousands of miles in 2010. He trained with
several MLS clubs, played in the World Cup for his native New Zealand and
finished the year in the Australian A-League with his hometown club, Wellington Phoenix.


After spending so much time traveling in 2010, the MLS
veteran is looking forward to spending 2011 in one place: with Chivas USA.
Signed last week – alongside fellow Kiwi Andrew Boyens – Elliott admits it
was an easy decision to come back to Los Angeles, where he played several years
with the Galaxy at the beginning of the decade.

“It’s nice to be back in LA and I think that I have a decent
understanding of what Robin [Fraser] and Greg [Vanney] want to do here,”
Elliott told MLSsoccer.com. “But I’m here to help really because there are some
young players here that have some great potential and we want to see that
realized in the coming seasons.”

A veteran with eight years of experience in MLS to go along
with a stint in the English Premier League with Fulham, Elliott will be
expected to immediately take a leadership role at Chivas USA. The inclusion of
Elliott is seminal to head coach Fraser’s desire to balance his roster with
youth and experience.

The new Chivas USA manager played 10 MLS seasons and shared
the field with several veterans that he has brought to the Rojiblancos. Elliott
is only one of the players on the squad with whom Fraser has played at the
Columbus Crew and LA Galaxy.

“When I took the job, I was confident knowing Zach
[Thornton] and Jimmy [Conrad], who were both guys that I played with and
against because you just know what kind of characters that they are,” Fraser
said. “The more that you can surround yourself with people that you know, who
are good people and good leaders, then I think you put yourself in the right

Personal relationships aside, Elliott faces an uphill climb
to earn a spot on the team with the impressive midfield depth that Chivas USA
possesses. From Paulo Nagamura to Blair Gavin and Gerson Mayen, the battle for playing
time in the center of the park will be intense.

In the midst of the competition for starting spots, Elliott accepts
his role as teacher. He believes that the balance of youth and experience could
be an effective mix for the Rojiblancos in 2011.

“Every team shoots for that balance between youth and
experience,” Elliott said. “It’s a difficult little chestnut, but what is most
important is that the team knows what we want from the season and how we want
to go about it.

“It’s important for young and old to be on the same page and
know what’s going on the pitch at any given moment. That’s what we want here.”

Adam Serrano covers
Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at adam.m.serrano@gmail.com and
on Twitter: @adamserrano