Off the PitchAug 14, 2018

Starting 11: First Season with Elliot Collier

In Starting 11, we cover a specific player topic through a series of 11 questions answered directly by the players. At the mid-way point of the season, we're getting an inside look from first year players on what it's like to make the transition to the MLS. 

Elliot Collier's passion for the game brought him to the MLS from his hometown of Hamilton, New Zealand. After playing semi-professionally in his home country, Collier came to the United States where he played for four years at Loyola University of Chicago. Collier went on to be selected 49th overall in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft and has started nine games and scored one goal for the Fire this season.

1: Where were you before coming into the MLS?

I am originally from New Zealand and I spent time in the ole football academy in Wellington to get a scholarship to a university in the United States with the end goal to end up playing pro. I ended up at Loyola university Chicago where I played for 4 years then was fortunate enough to get drafted and signed by the Chicago Fire.

2: What has surprised you the most about playing in the MLS?

I knew the physical demands of the MLS would be far greater than that of college level soccer but the speed of play and length of season combined makes for a very long grind of a season.

3: What has been the biggest adjustment or change?

Learning to play faster and in less touches than I have had to in the past. There are fewer moments to dribble and learning to recognize those are important too.

4: When did you get your first official minutes and how did it feel to step on the field for the first time as an MLS Player?

My first official minutes was the first game of the season where I came on very late in the second half only for about 5-8 minutes.

5: Were there MLS players that you looked up to growing up?

When David Beckham came to the MLS that was kind of an eye opener for me that showed me this league is growing and that it wants to be a big league.

6: What do you do in your down time? Do you have any hobbies or personal projects?

I have a lot of friends from college still in Chicago so I try to see them and spend time with them when I can. Other than that I pretty much just go home and rest and prepare for the next day of practice.

7: Do you have a mentor or someone you look to for support? If so, how has that helped you?

My college coach Neil Jones from Loyola Chicago has been a big mentor for me during my time in the US and continues to push me to be the best that I can be.

8: What has been the most exciting moment for you so far this first year?

Scoring my first goal in my first MLS start against Minnesota was a pretty special moment for me.

9: What is your favorite part of playing professionally?

That I get to go into work everyday and do what I love and work to get better at my chosen craft.

10: What are your goals for the rest of this season and for your career?

I want to win championships and have a long career whether it’s in the MLS or elsewhere. Another goal of mine is to play for my country.

11: Now that you have spent some time in the league, what advice would give to new guys coming in?

Work. Work. Work. Hard work and commitment everyday during the very long season is what will pay off the most. Stay strong physically and mentally.

You can follow Elliot on Instagram