US Club Soccer sanctions Elite Clubs National League
CHARLESTON, S.C. (May 7, 2009) – US Club Soccer has announced a sanctioning agreement with the newly-formed Elite Clubs National League (ECNL), the premier girls’ league in the country with U-15, U-16 and U-17 divisions.
The 40 inaugural ECNL member clubs were recently announced for the 2009-10 season, which will kick off with the Eclipse Select Challenge Cup in Chicago, August 14-16.
“We’re looking forward to being involved in this league with what are clearly some of the top girls’ soccer clubs in the country,” said US Club Soccer Executive Director Bill Sage. “This is an exciting venture and one that promises to help define the future direction of elite girls’ soccer in the United States.”
US Club Soccer will assist in the league’s administration and event operations, including marketing and public relations.
In addition to the ECNL being integrally involved in US Club Soccer’s current id2 player identification and development program, future plans include the league’s involvement in an older girls’ identification and development program as well.
The league’s structure and national scope will allow for optimal development for the elite female player, in part by improving clubs’ competitive calendars while allowing clubs the ability to provide a better training-to-game ratio for their players.
“We are very excited to enter into this relationship with US Club Soccer,” said ECNL President Christian Lavers. “Both the ECNL and US Club Soccer are committed to improving the developmental environment for youth players in the United States, and together I think we will be able to do this more quickly, more effectively and with a number of new and unique programs.”
ECNL member clubs will place one team in each of the U-15, U-16 and U-17 age groups, and teams will compete for individual age group championships as well as an overall club national championship.
The ECNL will host stand-alone events and partner with existing national showcase events for the completion of a 10-game regular season prior to the year-end ECNL National Championship. The inaugural ECNL National Championship is slated for July 2010 in Seattle.
Each ECNL team must participate in three of five regular-season events:
• Eclipse Select Challenge Cup: Aug. 14-16, 2009, in Chicago
• NCAA Women’s College Cup: Dec. 4-6, 2009, in College Station, Texas
• Disney’s Soccer Showcase: Dec. 31, 2009-Jan. 3, 2010, in Orlando, Fla.
• Las Vegas Showcase: March 2010
• PDA Showcase: May 2010 in Zaraphath, N.J.
Each age group will be split into two flights (Challenge A and Challenge B) based on team strength, and games within each flight will be based on geographical location in order to minimize the number of games teams play against opponents from the same region.
Upon completion of the regular season, multiple four-team playoff groups will be established in each flight based on the regular-season standings. The top four teams in each age group in the Challenge A flight will compete for the ECNL National Championship. The bottom four teams in the Challenge A flight will compete in a relegation playoff in which the winning team will remain in the Challenge A division for the next season and the remaining three teams will be relegated to the Challenge B flight. Similarly, the top four teams in the Challenge B division will compete for the promotion playoff in which the top three teams will be promoted to the Challenge A flight in the next season.
2009-10 ECNL MEMBER CLUBS:
Albertson Fury (N.Y.)
Arsenal FC (Calif.)
Atlanta Fire (Ga.)
Bethesda SC (Md.)
Birmingham United (Ala.)
CESA Premier (S.C.)
Challenge SC (Texas)
Charlotte Soccer Academy (N.C.)
Colorado Rush (Colo.)
Concorde Fire (Ga.)
Connecticut FC (Conn.)
Crossfire Premier (Wash.)
Dallas Sting (Texas)
Eclipse Select (Ill.)
FC Dallas (Texas)
FC DELCO (Pa.)
FC Milwaukee (Wis.)
FC Stars of Mass (Mass.)
FC Virginia (Va.)
Freestate Soccer Alliance (Md.)
FSA SoccerPlus (Conn.)
Irvine Strikers (Calif.)
Lonestar SC (Texas)
Minnesota Thunder (Minn.)
Mustang SC (Calif.)
Neusport FC (Nev.)
Ohio Elite Soccer Academy (Ohio)
Ohio Premier (Ohio)
Pleasanton Rage (Calif.)
Real Colorado (Colo.)
San Juan SC (Calif.)
SC Del Sol (Ariz.)
Sereno SC (Ariz.)
St. Louis Scott Gallagher (Mo.)
Virginia Rush (Va.)
West Coast FC (Calif.)
About US Club Soccer:
US Club Soccer is a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop competitive club soccer in the United States. A member of the United States Soccer Federation since July 2001, US Club Soccer has grown to include member clubs and leagues in 49 states. In addition to sanctioning and administering tournaments, leagues and other competitions as well as offering a range of programs for its members, US Club Soccer annually conducts the National Cup and the National Collegiate Showcase. US Club Soccer also directs its own player identification and development program – id2.
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