Although now in the twilight of his career, All Whites coach Ricki Herbert will look to Simon Elliott for leadership as one of his most senior and valuable players. A glittering club career with a number of high-profile USA clubs was broken only by a stint at English Premier League side Fulham.
One of the most-capped All Whites of all time, Elliott still offers much from midfield despite now being in his mid-30s. Often used as a defensive midfielder, Elliott has a real eye for goal and has long been a ‘go-to' player in the centre of the park for the All Whites.
Elliott brings a wealth of experience to the national team having played 18 matches across four FIFA World Cup™ campaigns for the All Whites. In 2008 Elliott was included as an overage player adding much-needed guile and experience to the spine of the New Zealand Beijing Olympics side. Elliott has previous experience at the FIFA Confederations Cup having played all three matches for New Zealand at their last appearance in France in 2003. He then played every minute of the South Africa 2009 campaign in a defensive midfielder role adding guile to what was a relatively inexperienced Kiwi line-up shorn of captain Ryan Nelsen.
A notable club career commenced in New Zealand in 1992 with successful stints at Wellington United, Wellington Olympic and Miramar Rangers, preceding a brief sojourn to Boston Bulldogs in the USA. Elliott then joined MLS club LA Galaxy where his club career blossomed and his goals and assists from midfield helped the club to a number of successes, most notably the CONCACAF Champions' Cup in 2000, resulting in Elliott being named the club's Most Valuable Player.
After a successful spell with Columbus Crew, Elliott caught the eye of Fulham, however, after a bright opening in London, a calf injury resulted in an extended period out of the game. In 2009 he joined the San Jose Earthquakes and after another strong opening, a campaign partly disrupted by the FIFA Confederations Cup, Elliott started only 12 matches. Just prior to the commencement of the MLS season in March, Elliott was left off the San Jose roster leaving the veteran short of invaluable match time leading up to South Africa 2010.
Following on from being one of New Zealand's best performers in their third Confederations Cup campaign last year, Elliott then played an important role in qualification for South Africa. Elliott's experience proved crucial in the backs-to-the-wall scoreless draw against Bahrain in Manama, though he missed the historic return leg in his hometown of Wellington after losing a race against time to recover from a hamstring injury.