Soc­cer star is a big hit in States

Macclesfield Express - - NEWS - STU­ART GREER

MOVE over David Beck­ham, there’s a new star of Amer­ica soc­cer.

El­liot Good­win from Mac­cles­field has just com­pleted his first sea­son with Nashville FC.

The 19-year-old proved such a hit with fans he earned the nick­name ‘Cheshire Cat’ be­cause of his home county and mas­sive grin. The teenager is hop­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence will be a plat­form to play in Ma­jor League Soc­cer (MLS), the Amer­i­can na­tional league where Beck­ham ended his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer.

As well as play­ing for Nashville, El­liot is on a sports schol­ar­ship at Cum­ber­land Univer­sity.

El­liot, of Birch Road, Mac­cles­field, said: “I have just fin­ished my first year of four and want to stay out here and build a ca­reer but it will take a lot of grind and hard work.

“It was a dif­fi­cult ad­just­ment for me be­ing so far away from home but I have had great sup­port. Ob­vi­ously I miss my fam­ily and friends but they are all very sup­port­ive of what I have come out here to do.”

El­liot went to Up­ton Pri­ory Pri­mary School and Fal­li­b­roome Academy.

He played for Mac­cles­field Boys, Prestbury JFC and Wilm­slow Boys as well as in youth teams for Stock­port Town and Mac­cles­field Town.

He was se­lected for the Cheshire School Boys team and had tri­als for the Eng­land School­boys.

Dur­ing his first year at Cum­ber­land the team got into the play-offs.

In­stead of com­ing home in the summer El­liot was se­lected to play for Nashville, a new club in the Na­tional Pre­mier Soc­cer League.

Play­ing in front of crowds of up to 2,000 El­liot quickly be­came a favourite of the Nashville Road­ies, its vo­cal band of sup­port­ers, who host pre-match tail­gate par­ties be­fore home games.

El­liot, who chose the shirt num­ber 23 in homage to David Beck­ham, was named the club’s Of­fen­sive Player of the Year and hopes to re­turn for next sea­son.

He said: “The fans are great. They have drums, flags and smoke flairs at ev­ery game. When I was younger it was al­most a dream to go and meet one of the play­ers but now that peo­ple want to come and ask me for a pic­ture is a great feel­ing but strange at the same.”

El­liot’s fam­ily – in­clud­ing mum Ju­dith, 53, and dad Steve, 55, and brother Mar­cus, 21 – re­cently flew out to see him in ac­tion.

Steve said: “El­liot has suf­fered a few dis­ap­point­ments, get­ting re­leased by Mac­cles­field Town at 16, then miss­ing out on se­lec­tion for the Eng­land school­boys’ team last year.

“But this op­por­tu­nity to study and play in Amer­ica has been great for him and he’s mak­ing a real suc­cess of it.

“As par­ents we were a bit anx­ious about him be­ing there on his own, but he’s do­ing fine and loves it there.

“We’re very proud of him.”

●● Dad Steve, mum Ju­dith, El­liot and his brother Mar­cus

Fans make a sign for El­liot, pic­tured in ac­tion, righ

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