ECNL Launches A New “First Team” Platform
ECNL Announces Creation of Super Cup for its clubs, allowing players to play up on a robust “First Team” platform created for the Nation’s Top Players
The Elite Clubs National League (ECNL), the nation’s leading youth soccer league for boys and girls announced the creation of a ground-breaking and exciting new program within the league’s Player Identification and Selection Platform for the fall of 2021.
ECNL is known for its innovative, player-centered programming created to develop more successful players. Always wanting to raise the bar in youth soccer, Christian Lavers is the president of ECNL and on a mission to meet the needs of developing the very best players in the United States. The latest news on ECNL? The ECNL Super Cup.
The ECNL Super Cup is a pathway for elite players who have big dreams and want to become professional soccer players or impactful collegiate athletes.
Playing with the best players, and playing with older players, have always been proven methods for taking one’s game to the next level and ECNL Super Cup gives youth soccer clubs the framework to select the top players in the U15 to U18/19 age ranges and form one special squad that can train and compete in addition to and without a conflict with the ECNL Club Competition.
Reflecting the growth and increasing strength of the league and its players, the ECNL Super Cup is an additive program for U15-U18/19 players and will be a complement to existing team training.
In place of joining a high-level residential program or driving long hours to an MLS Academy, the Super Cup program offers the benefit of high-level competition and exposure. Players are able to train and compete on a national level (once the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is over) but remain in the comfort and familiarity of their home.
An All-Star type program for clubs, coaches can recommend their best players to participate in the ECNL Super Cup.
The idea is to create a “First Team” culture and pathway within youth soccer clubs. The Super Cup program allows a single pool of top (boys or girls) players from across the U15-U18/19 ages to achieve new levels of excellence, and further paving the path from youth soccer to the highest levels, including college, professional, and national team soccer.
The program was piloted in early 2020 prior to the pandemic and is the first of its kind in American youth soccer.
Super Cup players will continue to roster with their age-appropriate teams and competitions, with this added opportunity to train and compete in best-vs-best environments.
“For more than a decade the ECNL has been paving new ground and creating new opportunities for the nation’s best athletes to fulfill their potential,” said Lavers. “The pathway created by the ECNL Super Cup is once again raising the bar of what our clubs can offer their best players, without creating more burden on, or reducing the value provided to, every other player in the league.”
The ECNL Super Cup will include a limited but scalable number of divisional games per participating club in the 2021-2022 season, with many clubs expected to offer a 10-month programming option for these players. In addition, the Super Cup will include additional minimum standards beyond the standards and expectations within the ECNL Club Competition in areas of coach licensing, substitution, video, and training. Complete Super Cup standards and expectations will be released by the ECNL in 2021.
Super Cup rosters will be fluid and able to change day-by-day based on performance and development, at the club’s discretion, with matches scheduled to avoid overlap with ECNL National Events and with most age-specific programming and competition.
“The Super Cup will foster an environment of ‘best vs. best’ where the physical, mental, and emotional development of players will be tested in new ways to allow ECNL clubs – both male and female – to continue to serve as the clearest pathway to college, national teams, and professional soccer,” said Lavers.
The Super Cup program is part of the league’s rapidly expanding Player Identification and Selection Platform, adding to the existing National Selection Games, National Training Camp, and Conference Selection Programming. With the addition of the Super Cup, ECNL clubs will now be able to manage a complete and progressive development and competition platform for players across multiple age and performance levels, extending from the ECNL Regional League, to the ECNL Club Competition, to the ECNL Super Cup. This scope of programming and opportunity constitutes the most robust and thorough developmental pathway for players in the country.