Elliott Returns to Alma Mater
Both Students Enjoyed Successful Senior Seasons
Saints Begin Quest for Program's First MAAC Championship
By: Mark Adam
Saints Honored for Tremendous Regular Season
Gareth Elliott enters his fifth year as head coach of the Siena men's soccer program. Named the sixth head coach in program history on Jan. 9, 2008, Elliott has led the Saints to a 32-33-9 (.493) overall record including an 18-13-5 (.569) mark in the MAAC. Both his overall and MAAC winning percentages are the best of any coach in program history.
In nine seasons as a collegiate coach (five as an assistant and four as head coach) and four years as a player, his squads have posted winning records 12 times in 13 years. At Siena, Elliott has coached the first three student athletes in program history to sign professional contracts. Steve Covino and Joey Tavernese inked pro deals with FC New York of the United Soccer League in 2011 and Tavernese and Nick Viaggio are currently playing for Armadale SC in Australia.
In 2011, Elliott guided the Saints to their first-ever wins over nationally ranked opponents. Siena earned victories over both 15th ranked Ohio State and 16th ranked Iona. Additionally, Siena won its first MAAC Tournament game since 2007, thrashing defending conference champion Saint Peter's, 5-1 in the quarterfinals. The Saints were led by a strong defense in 2011 which ranked 34th nationally allowing just 0.89 goals per game - the second lowest total in program history.
Elliott has also played an integral role in the development of one of his first recruits, Jannis Opalka. Following the 2011 season Opalka was named a Capital One Academic All-District I First Team selection and an NSCAA Scholar All-American. Additionally, Opalka was the MAAC's Male Nominee for the NCAA Sportsmanship Award during the summer of 2011.
2010 was an historic season for Elliott and the Saints as the program posted a 10-8-1 overall record with a 7-2 mark in the MAAC. After beginning the campaign 1-4, the Saints rebounded to finish 9-4-1 over their final 14 games and advance to the MAAC Championships for the second time in three seasons under Elliott. The Saints finished with 10 wins, marking their second highest single-season total in program history and just the second time the program reached double figures in victories.
The offense exploded during the 2010 season as the Saints scored a program-record 49 goals which ranked fourth nationally. During the season, Elliott guided the program to its 200th all-time win while also leading Siena to a 7-2-0 MAAC mark for a second time in three years - the program's best conference record.
Additionally, Elliott coached the MAAC Offensive Player of the Year in addition to five other All-MAAC selections and four members of the MAAC All-Academic Team. He also mentored the Siena Male Rookie of the Year and two All-Region honorees. Following the season, senior Steve Covino became the first Saint to sign a pro contract, inking with FC New York.
Elliott led the Saints to an 8-8-3 overall record in 2009 as he continued to transform the program. They enjoyed marquee wins against Rhode Island and Boston College. Elliott and his staff spanned Europe and North America to find talent that resulted in three MAAC All-Rookie Team selections and the MAAC Rookie of the Year.
In his first year at the helm, Siena went 9-8-1 and won seven league games. It was the most since joining the conference in 1989, and earned Siena the No. 2 seed in the MAAC Tournament.
Prior to Siena, Elliott served as an assistant coach for five years at the University of Rhode Island, his alma mater, where he helped guide the Rams to three Atlantic 10 championships and three NCAA tournament appearances. Elliott, a native of Belfast, Northern Ireland, stands among the most successful student-athletes in Rhode Island soccer history. During his playing career, he led the Rams to two Atlantic 10 regular-season titles, two Atlantic 10 postseason championships and two NCAA Tournament appearances.
Elliott, a starting striker at Rhode Island from 1998-01, ranks seventh all-time in career points. He appeared in 78 games over his career and finished with 87 points, including 31 goals and 25 assists. He was a three-time Atlantic 10 All-Championship team honoree, and was selected to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-Region team in 2001. In 2000, Elliott was named the Atlantic 10 Tournament MVP, helping Rhode Island advance to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
As a professional, Elliott played one season with the Ards Football Club of the Irish Premier League. He started 35 games for the squad during his career.
In 2003, Elliott returned to his alma mater to begin his collegiate coaching career as an assistant under former Rams head coach Ed Bradley. As assistant coach, Elliott helped lead URI to three Atlantic 10 Championships, including back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006. In the Rams last appearance in 2006, Elliott helped the team advance to the Second Round.
YEAR-BY-YEAR WITH COACH ELLIOTT