Janesville native Tim Elliott 'ades' US soccer team
What began as a simple post to a social media website has ended with one Janesville native becoming a small part of the World Cup in Brazil.
Before the event, Gatorade—the popular sports drink—asked fans of the US Men's National Team to send photos of themselves supporting the team. Tim Elliott, a 2003 Janesville Craig High graduate who delivered the school's commencement address this spring, answered the call via Twitter.
Weeks later, on June 7, Gatorade tweeted back to Elliott to let him know his photo was included on a custom label. The message included a link to a photo showing him on the blue bottle.
“I entered the contest, and three or four hours later they tweeted back and said they'd like to possibly use my photo,” Elliott said. “I actually haven't found a bottle yet … but they did tweet me a picture.”
Elliott and local fans won't have a chance to find a bottle, unfortunately, as the limited-edition labeled bottles were only sent to Brazil to be used by the American team.
Thus, when American stars Clint Dempsey or Tim Howard hydrate leading up to today's knockout game
between the U.S. and Belgium at 3 p.m. on ESPN, they may come face to face with Elliott.
Elliott, who is a general assignment reporter for the television station WLKY in Louisville and previously worked at WMTV-NBC 15 in Madison, played three years of varsity soccer at Craig. His passion for the U.S. team first began at the 2002 World Cup and has grown since, including his joining of the American Outlaws—the nation's largest unofficial group of supporters of the team.
“I went to a friendly in Chicago between the U.S. and England in 2005, and I went to a qualifier in 2009, when the U.S. played Trinidad and Tobago in Nashville,” Elliott said. “Last summer, I went to Seattle to see U.S. versus Panama, and that's what the picture is on the Gatorade bottle. It's me holding my scarf underneath the famous 'Public Market' sign.”
Elliott has seen the national team play four times.
When the Americans played in the group stage of this World Cup, he watched the first game in Las Vegas, the second in Madison and the third at home in Louisville. Elliott is not surprised the American team advanced through the group stage to play today.
“I was a little upset with the roster, with Landon Donovan being left off,” he said. “But I said back in December if we could beat Ghana, tie Portugal and lose to Germany, we could still advance. And we did.
“Now I'm buying into the roster. I'm a believer. I'm glad Jurgen Klinsmann proved me and a lot of other people wrong.”
As for Belgium?
“They have a lot of really talented individual, technical players … but they haven't really jelled as a team,” Elliott said. “We've got decent players—no one out of this world—but we play as a unit so well.
“I'm hoping that translates well.”