Photo courtesy Sacramento Republic FC
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Republic FC announced on Thursday the club had appointed Simon Elliott as its new Head Coach, replacing the departing Paul Buckle. Previously a member of the club’s Academy, coaching staff Elliott began his tenure on the opening day of preseason training camp for Republic FC, which kicked off preparations for the 2018 USL season on Thursday.
“I am delighted to be continuing with the Republic FC,” said Elliott. “My passion for the sport and my role with the club comes from working with players every day. It is interesting and challenging, but also immensely rewarding. Taking on this more senior role as we build towards MLS creates an opportunity for all of us, including our focus and success in our current season. I am grateful to Kevin, Todd and the entire club and I couldn’t be more excited about the future of Republic FC.”
“Simon is not only one of the most accomplished individuals I have had the opportunity to work with but also one of the most humble,” said Republic FC Chairman and CEO Kevin Nagle. “His credentials at all levels of soccer speak for themselves, but it is his work ethic and vision for our club that have given me full confidence in him as our Head Coach.”
A native of Wellington, New Zealand, Elliott brings a history of success at all levels of professional soccer. Elliott began his career as a youth in New Zealand before moving to the United States in 1997 to play collegiately at Stanford. The forward played in 45 matches for the Cardinal over two seasons, scoring 13 goals and adding 12 assists.
After beginning his professional career with the LA Galaxy in 1999, Elliott made the move to Fulham FC in the Premier League in 2006. Elliott played for three seasons with Fulham before returning to Major League Soccer with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2009. During his time with the Quakes, Elliott also earned selection to New Zealand’s national team for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the highlight of an international career that saw him earn 69 caps for the All Whites.
Elliott retired in 2011 after his final season MLS having made 220 appearances that saw him record 56 assists and 11 goals across spells with four different clubs. Since his retirement, Elliott has successfully transitioned to the coaching ranks, and in 2015 joined Republic FC’s Academy where he served as the U-15/16 and U-17 head coach, while assisting with the other Academy teams. Elliott was named USSDA Western Conference U-15/16 Coach of the Year for the 2016-2017 season, and seven Academy players to date have been called up to national teams under his leadership.
Buckle's departure from his position as Republic FC’s Technical Director and Head Coach effective immediately had been announced previously on Thursday based on a mutual agreement between Buckle and the club.
“On behalf of Republic FC, we are grateful for Paul’s contributions during his tenure at the club including successive playoff appearances and our 2016 Western Conference Regular Season title,” said Nagle. “His vast experience in youth development has served as a cornerstone for our Academy, the benefits of which we are already witnessing, and the call up of several of our USL players to MLS clubs has also demonstrated his player development skills. We wish Paul and his family all the best.”
Under Buckle, Republic FC compiled a USL record of 31-19-21. Significant signings under Buckle included goalkeeper Evan Newton, former West Ham United forward Carlton Cole, CESIFUT Academy standouts Carlos Rodriguez and Luis Espino and the club’s first signing of an Academy player to the USL squad in Roberto Hategan. Buckle was hired on July 12, 2015 following the departure of Preki, the club’s first Head Coach.
“I will forever be grateful to the club, and especially to Warren and Kevin, for the opportunity to coach our incredible players and to do so in front of our incredible fans,” said Buckle. “I have great pride in what we accomplished together and have full confidence that the club is in great hands with its new leadership who will continue to carry Sacramento Republic FC forward for this community.”