Two Founding Members of ECNL Return
As the landscape continues to shift in response to U.S. Soccer closing the Development Academy, nationally recognized, high-level competitive clubs seek sanctuary and future growth with ECNL.
For more than a decade, the ECNL has supported the nation’s leading youth players to compete at the highest level while supporting the development of their players based on the specific needs of their players, teams, and culture.
San Diego Surf was founded in 1977 and has won 11 National Championships in its history. Real So Cal was founded in 2000 and has won six National Championships since its inception.
ECNL Has a Proven Track Record of Success
“We are tremendously excited to welcome the Surf and Real So Cal back to the league,” said ECNL Girls Commissioner Jen Winnagle. “The addition of these clubs helps to continue to unify the top programs in the region in one competition. It reduces travel demands for everyone, with more clubs aligning with the philosophies and values of the ECNL.”
“The leadership of ECNL understands what the youth clubs need,” said Real So Cal Director Alberto Bru (AB). “We need competition, exposure, organization, and communication — and, ECNL has nailed that.”
“Real So Cal was one of the original members of ECNL and we are extremely excited to be back a part of the ECNL Girls program,” said AB.
“ECNL understands that they need to work together with college coaches.”Alberto Bru, Director Real So Cal
“The ECNL offers our players the opportunity to play against the best clubs in the country, compete in front of college coaches and aspire to a National Championship. We know the ECNL and that is why we feel very confident going into the Boys’ ECNL program as well.”
Sanctioned by US Club Soccer, the ECNL provides a comprehensive series of showcases and competitions — and has independent governance and leadership structure. ECNL’s mission is to “Raise the Game” by elevating standards and experience in all aspects of youth soccer.
“With its elite competition and focus on empowering youth athletes on and off the field, the ECNL provides extensive college exposure and a fantastic environment for players,” said Director of Coaching Rob Becerra, San Diego Surf.
At Surf, it is about being the best we can be and giving players a chance to achieve their goals.Rob Becerra, Senior Director of Coaching
“All of us in youth soccer have to put players first,” said Becerra who worked for U.S. Soccer for four years as a Technical Advisor and an Assistant Coach with multiple US Youth National Teams.
“U.S. Soccer’s Jen Lalor was an incredible asset and helped our club improve and we are very grateful to the DA,” said Becerra. “And we look forward to this new chapter.”
There are many significant benefits to joining ECNL. “Looking at a year-long programming calendar, it is a huge deal to be able to map out what is best for our players. Now we are not limited to participating in multiple showcases,” said Becerra. “As a director, being able to choose what events we want to attend is very helpful for player development.”
Nearly 90% of ECNL Girls alumni move on to play in college, overwhelmingly dominating the 2019 individual conference honors in the “Power 5” conferences.
In total, over 1,100 ECNL Alums played this year in these five conferences, accounting for more than 62% of all rostered players in the Power 5.
“The ECNL is set up as a highly successful collegiate pathway and we faced several challenges in the DA when we were trying to showcase our players,” said Becerra. “We can now reward multiple players who are doing a good job — the ECNL substitution rules allow us to create a true team atmosphere and the culture that we want to personify at Surf with earned playing time.”
“The ability to cultivate a Surf culture — that we are all proud of — is the most important to me. ECNL will help us achieve this.Rob Becerra, Senior Director of Coaching
“In addition, we are really excited to afford our players of the social opportunities that playing high school soccer provides and it is a chance for some players to thrive — and that is a good feeling,” said Becerra. “Now our players can now participate in US Youth Soccer ODP and they can play futsal.”
“Surf’s mission is to always provide the best experiences for our players and we are honored to compete in the best girls league in the nation,” added Becerra.
“ECNL offers more flexibility for players and focuses on getting players into college,” said Brian Enge, CEO of Surf. “They use sport to build amazing girls and confident young women, which we believe strongly in.
ECNL is more player-centric.”Brian Enge, CEO of Surf
“In addition, ECNL is more customer-centric and really understands the importance of brand building and providing quality tournament experiences,” added Enge.
“We know the ECNL well because we were also a founding member,” said Enge. “We were incredibly happy with the ECNL then and while we have been away, we have only seen ECNL get better and we are happy to partner with them again.”