It has been a crazy way into English football for Simoes, and not by design.
Brought up in the Lisbon district of Amadora, it was his mother who told him that England would be where he’d make his name.
But not before he’d been with two of his homeland’s greatest clubs, and not before he’d found himself in spots of bother, growing up as a rebellious young lad with just football on his mind, his way out of trouble, as he tells us.
“My mum and dad are African but lived in Portugal and I grew up in a place called Amadora. It’s a very well-known place for crime, a dangerous place to grow up in. So that was a challenge. But I always had my love for football.
“I joined a futsal team first. And the older guys realised I had something. I think they liked me for my cheekiness, as well as my football. So I had older friends then. My brother is six years older than me so I played with him and his friends.
“But it was tough for me still. I was struggling with school. My behaviour was never the best. I was in trouble a lot with friends. But I always had football. It became my way out. I ended up in the academy at Benfica, then with Sporting Lisbon.
“My dream is still to go back and play for Benfica. That’s my club.
“But when I was a teenager, my mum suggested I move to England. Not for football like people might think, but to escape the troubled area, and ease her worries. So I moved to Leeds to be with my aunty.
“But football wise, I had to start again really.
“I joined a team called Moston Brook. It was for kids really. Very low down in the leagues, non league really. But it was a start.
“Then I went to Droylsden, which was where I was living at that point. That was a step up and I had schoolmates playing with me, so that got me right back into it. My love for football was still carrying me.
“But I always sent a big email out, trying to get a chance at bigger clubs. I was that guy. So then I went to Curzon Ashton and played for their under 16s and that was great before FC United came calling.”
Formed in 2005 as a protest club by supporters of Manchester United, who opposed the direction the club was going in under the ownership there, FCUM have become a solid outfit in the Northern Premier League and a great base for youngsters making their way in the game.
Elliot certainly felt it benefited him at that point of his fledgling career.
“They offered me a chance to not only play football, but education too. It was like a proper college system and I really enjoyed it. I ended up getting into the first team for them and my performances were really good where I was scoring goals, making goals. Every game was decent and there was interest in me. I was getting a name.”
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