I was doing my usual checks of English footballers abroad, making sure I hadn’t missed out on any new transfers then I came across someone who wasn’t on my radar.
During my checks of the second tier in America, the USL, a young defender, only 17 years of age in fact, named Maxwell Elliott had appeared on the bench for Portland Timbers 2 (T2) during their 2-0 win over Sacramento Republic earlier this month.
It turned out it was his second appearance on the bench this season, not bad for a 17-year-old with no previous senior experience.
My first instinct was that he had been listed as English by mistake on the site I was checking but a quick Google saw that he was listed by several other sources but that was about it when it came to information online about Elliott.
I like to have a good understanding of all the English players abroad I come across so I then went on a fact finding mission, this is what I uncovered.
He was born in Newcastle but now lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Max joined the Timbers in 2015 and has been impressing the Timbers coaching staff with impressive performances at the back ever since. Max’s brother also once featured for the Timbers’ academy.
In the 2015/16 season, he made three appearances for the Timbers U13/14 team before being promoted to the U15/16 side where he played 14 games.
Last season he cemented his spot in the U15/16 side with 14 more games and a goal as well as playing in the Generation Adidas Cup which is a tournament that sees the best U17 MLS sides compete against academy teams from across the world. Last year’s edition won by River Plate.
This season though, is where he has really caught the eye. He’s made 26 appearances, 25 of which are starts for the Timbers U16/17 side, picking up seven yellow cards along the way.
It would seem his impressive performances for the youth sides have seen him fast tracked to the bench of the USL side, despite his young age. He’s been wearing the shirt number 83 for T2 so far this season and he is in the squad alongside fellow Englishman, Jack Barmby, son of Nicky Barmby.
I’ve been told that he is unlikely to be eligible for the US yet as he has not been involved in any national team action with the States which would have been very likely if he was eligible due to his impressive progress this season. Hopefully the FA in England have an eye on him.
So not a lot to go off there but definitely one to check out for the future. Hopefully Max will make his debut for T2 soon so we can see him in action soon. His story grabbed my attention as I am used to English players working their way up through the college system and being drafted by MLS or USL sides but I haven’t seen many English players work their way up through the academies of pro sides.