FRISCO – FC Dallas assistant coach John Ellinger is retiring from Major League Soccer to spend more time with his family.
Ellinger spent five seasons with FC Dallas after joining Schellas Hyndman’s staff from U.S. Youth Soccer in 2008.
“When I took this position with FC Dallas, I wanted someone with me who had been a coach in the league, who had been a head coach and was someone I had known for many years,” said FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman. “John is not only someone who I consider to be one of the best coaches in the country, but also somebody who I consider to be a personal friend who brings trust and loyalty. His value and contribution to FC Dallas have been immeasurable. I know it has been a difficult year for him being separated from his family and while he is looking forward to reuniting with them, he will be very much missed here at FC Dallas.”
In 1997, Ellinger was hired as U.S. Soccer’s Under-17 head coach and the organization’s Director of Youth Development, which included spearheading the launch of the U.S. Soccer U-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida. The program debuted on January 17, 1999, with U.S. Soccer collecting the top 20 of the country’s elite youth players and placing them in year-round training at the IMG Academy. Among the more than 200 players who have graduated from the program are Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Bobby Convey, Oguchi Onyewu, Michael Bradley, Eric Avila, Dax McCarty, Jeremy Hall, Kyle Beckerman, Mike Magee, Heath Pearce and current FC Dallas player Brek Shea.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time with FC Dallas,” said Ellinger. “Not only has it been enjoyable helping Schellas build something here, I’ve also enjoyed the time I’ve had with so many players I coached as youth with the U.S. Residency program. It was fun to spend time with them both in their developmental years and again as professionals. I’d like to thank the coaches, staff, front office, players and fans for making my time here such a great experience. While I’m happy to be going home to spend time with my family, I will definitely miss many of the wonderful people here in Dallas.”
After eight years with U.S. Soccer, Ellinger became the first head coach in Real Salt Lake history in 2004. He remained with RSL as head coach until the 2007 season when he became the team’s technical director before briefly returning to U.S. Youth Soccer.
Ellinger began his coaching career as the head coach of Montgomery College in Maryland in 1979, before moving to the University of Maryland-Baltimore from 1981 to 1990. He served as the director of coaching for Columbia Soccer Association from 1990 to 1998, before becoming a member of the U.S. Soccer National team staff in 1992. He was an assistant coach for the Columbus Crew during Major League Soccer’s inaugural season in 1996.
The Maryland native earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in health and physical education from Frostburg State University. He has plans to return to Maryland with his family.
“It’s a loss for FC Dallas,” said Technical Director Fernando Clavijo. “John has so much experience and knowledge about Major League Soccer, so we’re certainly going to miss him. But, obviously, family is more important and we wish him the best. We’ve enjoyed the time he was here with FC Dallas and I know he was a great help to Coach Hyndman in making the transition from college coaching.”