ECNL to Fill a Void for Girls Soccer?

There has been much discussion and debate about why the USSF has formed the USSF Development Academy for boys only and when they might implement a similar system for girls. Up until now it’s been mostly trying to glean hints from various interviews with USSF notables.

Now it looks like US Club and others are trying to fill that void by taking the Red Bull League and expanding it into a structure that is very similar to what USSF has going for the boys. 

Here are the details posted over at BigSoccer

On March 12, 2009, a new league proposal will be presented to the top clubs in the country — the Elite Clubs National League (“ECNL”). The proposal will address the following areas in significant detail:

  • A five-year plan for U15 thru U17 age players.
  • The ECNL Operating and Governance Policy.
  • A plan for ECNL marketing, promotion, and expansion.
  • The ECNL competition structure.
  • The ECNL National Championship.
  • The ECNL player identification process.
  • The ECNL U18 Super League.

With the participation of the clubs invited to the March 12, 2009 presentation, the new ECNL will represent the highest level of competition in girl’s youth soccer, and will insure that the developmental environment for the American female youth soccer player continues to improve.

The key is getting the invited clubs to participate, but with the success of the boys academy, the elite clubs have to be under pressure from parents of girls to do something.

This may fail, it may not. But it will be interesting to watch as it unfolds. H/T followtherules at the NC-Soccer forums

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  1. ECNL is an overkill league. The Premier Leagues and ODP do just fine. ECNL is just another reason to turn your kids away from soccer and get them into a more affordable sport. Youth soccer is becoming a racket that we chose to get out of this past year. We were going to have to play in ECNL, Premier League, and Challenge League. The travel for our youths playing soccer has become ridiculous. Some of these club directors need to have their head examined.

  2. But I’m not sure you can blame that on the ECNL – it’s the club directors who think that you need to play in three different leagues. That’s crazy. The goal of the ECNL is clearly to be the ‘Girls Academy’ Like any new program it’ll have issues and they seem to be trying to address them. But if US Club finds a way to mimic the success of the boys USSDA, then that’s not a bad thing. But you’re right. You can’t just keep adding stuff. If you feel Premier and/or ODP aren’t working for the top players, then do something else, don’t just add on. Hopefully more clubs will ‘switch’ vs adding ECNL – I’m guessing some did it to ease into or ‘try out’ ECNL before pulling out of other areas.

  3. I am witness to my first ECNL turmoil. My daughter’s club decided to do it this year. She is U 16. She plays high school, Premier and ODP. Now that her Premier club went ECNL it doesn’t mix very well with the ODP and we are in conflict(some ECNL teams are telling girls they can’t play ODP and if they do they hold it against them). My daughter’s club rostered 23 girls and some are forced to sit out entire games in ECNL tournaments, not good. After a couple ECNL tournaments and her teams new policy of equal playing time so all the girls get “seen” by college coaches, I think it is overkill and a racket. Parents are getting sucked in to the delusion of Scholarship money at the end of the rainbow. Most are in for a rude awakening. I think the college coach recruiting ploy doesn’t have merrit especially for 15 yr olds. College coaches found the best girls with the best grades easy enough before it. The expense of the ECNL coupled with the teams “socialized” soccer ploy that doesnt promote the best players “playing” or competition for playing time is leaving us less than excited (this is the club’s issue I know, not ECNLs). ECNL is a fortune to do. Put it all together and I just don’t see the value for the expense. Its compounded more by the equal playing time policy with too many girls on her team. My daughter loves the ODP for its training, coaching, competition and competing to make the team’s starting 11. She has gained her greatest soccer experience from it and I hate to see it in conflict with this new ECNL. What made her now ECNL club a better team with the same coach and players then taking too many with no try out or cuts? I never wanted to see her leave her club but I feel we will be forced to go to a non-ECNL premier team that will allow her to continue ODP and make her soccer affordable for us to get the best value. ODP has just been to good of an experience. I’m just a bit worried that ECNL will dilute the ODP at some point and that would be a shame. ODP brought the best players together from everywhere, with the great coaching too. It is superior to her club and I don’t see that changing and only hope ODP stays intact.

  4. I’m with Bob T. Overkill is right.
    I really don’t see that there is a real void to fill. Maybe if you are in an area of the country that doesnt have enough good competition in a close enough geography.

    That’s not my problem. We have plenty of good competition in our area of the country (Midlantic East) with clubs in driving distance. I see no reason to fly on planes to play a league match.

    If girls try out and can’t make an ODP team they still have their club to play for and showcase tournaments to play in. What does an ECNL accademy give you that ODP doesn’t.

    We played in the recent ECNL tournaments and the teams we played were not as good as the one’s we play in our Area. We even put out weaker teams on the field by playing every player equally instead of the best 11.

    Keep the system we have and tweek it if needed. One thing I’d like to see is after ODP teams are picked give them more opportunity to play more games together against other teams.

    It is so much fun seeing the best girls from thier state together playing at such a high level but they don’t get enough games to maximize the experience.