ECNL Launches 11th Season With ‘More Than a League’ Programming
ECNL Touches the Lives of Over 500,000 Youth Soccer Players, Can It Now Raise the Game for All Players?
More than 10 million people in America play soccer, with one in three households having a soccer player and the popularity of the sport tripling in the last decade.
“How can we positively improve soccer in this country? That is what I ask.”Christian Lavers, President, ECNL
Ever since launching, Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) has embraced growing the game and raising the level of training in youth soccer. As a leader in American soccer in elevating the game for the elite ECNL players, as well as supporting the needs of youth soccer in general, ECNL’s goal as it celebrates its birthday is to significantly elevate the game for all.
Since its inception in 2009, ECNL Girls has provided the elite development platform for more than 50,000 of the nation’s top female soccer players.
There is no question that the ECNL has made an incredible impact on American youth soccer. Today, ECNL celebrates its 11th season of girls competition and the third season of boys competition with the addition of new programs to enhance their player experience.
ECNL Girls achieved a college attendance rate of 99%
ECNL has produced more collegiate players in total than any other youth league with approximately 90% of ECNL female players moving on to college soccer careers.
ECNL proudly counts nearly 25% of the women on the recent 2019 World Cup roster as alumni.
In 2017, ECNL Boys was founded and rapidly gained recognition, and now includes 90 clubs with the addition of the new Northwest conference this year.
ECNL Boys are being called into youth national teams by multiple countries around the globe.
“From the beginning, the mission of the ECNL has been to Raise The Game. When looking at the success of our players at the collegiate level, on the world stage, and in all kinds of careers, it’s clear that the ECNL is helping do that and much more for youth players,” said Christian Lavers, President, ECNL.
“Our mission has been to help players succeed in the sport, in college, and in life – we’ve always been more than a league.”Christian Lavers, President, ECNL
“Our clubs do fantastic work with the players, and we add opportunities, resources, programs, and a spirit of community,” said Lavers. “As the ECNL heads into our eleventh season overall, we want to bring some of these resources into communities and homes across the country to help motivate and inspire more youth athletes stretch for their best.”
“As we launch into our next decade, we have a renewed purpose to be more than a league,” said Lavers. “We plan to continue to help develop the country’s best youth players but also to lead by sharing resources and expanding our impact in more communities and with more players who aspire to achieve.”
“With respect to the ECNL, we believe that leadership is both helping those around you constantly be better, and just as importantly, surrounding yourself with people committed to doing the same for you,” said Lavers. “The pursuit of constant improvement on and off the field means helping develop great people, coaches, and athletes that are doing great things and that are prepared to do greater things.”
“We are governed by directors who are working with kids every day, and we bring a broad set of opinions together when we discuss how to do better,” said Lavers. “
With both its male and female competition, the ECNL includes clubs and teams from more than 30 states across the country and will field more than 20,000 players between the ages of 12-19 years old during the 2019-2020 season.
ECNL players are among the nation’s top 1% of youth soccer players.
The ECNL will roll out a series of More Than A League programs to support players in the ECNL and in communities across the country.
Under the banners of Leaders Play Here for the girls and Always Be More for the boys, the ECNL will introduce new offerings throughout the season:
Leaders Play Here
- ECNL National Selection Games: A prestigious selection of 36 girls from across the country will comprise two teams to compete in spotlight competition at the kick-off of each of the six girls ECNL National Events throughout the season. The first National Selection Game will be held in Phoenix, AZ, on November 8.
- ECNL Box: Recognizing that 96% of female CEOs identify as athletes, a unique partnership with Sweat Cosmetics – founded by former professional women’s soccer players – will deliver entrepreneurial and leadership messaging to young women.
“As the world’s top league for the development of female youth soccer players, the ECNL has a history of staying ahead of what’s next to ensure that our programs are leading the way in meeting the needs of top youth female athletes,” said Jen Winnagle, Commissioner, ECNL Girls.
“Now, with thousands of ECNL Alumni in the workforce and studies revealing the correlation between athletes and women’s leadership, we are again expanding our offerings,” said Winnagle.
Always Be More
- ECNL Conference SuperCup: In each of the eight ECNL Boys conferences, the top-performing clubs from the prior season’s club rankings will compete in a first-of-its-kind competition to crown a Conference SuperCup Champion, with each club forming one team comprised of top prospects from U15, U16, U17, and U18 age groups; SuperCup dates to be announced.
- ECNL Conference Selection Program (CSP): Top players from each club not qualifying for the SuperCup will participate in the CSP event, to be held in conjunction with the SuperCup, offering additional, high-level scouting opportunities for college and professional coaches.
“In just three seasons, the ECNL Boys is already changing the expectations for what an elite national league for the nation’s top youth male soccer players should look like,” said Jason Kutney, Commissioner, ECNL Boys. “As the love for the game continues to grow in this country and expectations elevate, it is the individuality and competitive grit of this league that will undoubtedly help to inspire more positive change.”
More Than A League programs spanning Leaders Play Here and Always Be More:
- ECNL Play This: Creates a path for players to engage, share training lessons and best practices to reinforce creativity in soccer at all levels. ECNL Play This kicks off with an ECNL Playlist on Spotify to help build community among players [listen to the playlist here].
- Play It Forward: A community-based program designed to support ECNL players in volunteering to share their skills with local and community-based soccer programs. The ECNL will provide all participating players a certificate of community service for their volunteer time.
- ECNL Best College Practices: A series of tips will be rolled out to support all players seeking more information on how to best engage with collegiate coaches and gain their attention.
Images courtesy of ECNL Facebook and PR