Navigating the world of competitive soccer is difficult, especially if you are unfamiliar with the landscape. With a little guidance, we will try to help you understand the two largest governing bodies for competitive soccer in the United States - United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA) and United States Club Soccer (US Club).
It is important to understand that both USYSA and US Club fall under the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). The USSF is the official governing body of soccer in the United States as recognized by soccer's international governing body, FIFA.
United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA)
Their Mission - US Youth Soccer is a non-profit and educational organization whose mission is to foster the physical, mental and emotional growth and development of America's youth through the sport of soccer at all levels of age and competition. Our job is also to make it fun, and instill in young players a lifelong passion for the sport.
The US Youth Soccer membership is divided into four regions: East, Midwest, South and West. Fifty-five member State Associations make up US Youth Soccer with one in each state, and two in California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. Boys and girls then register to play with one of the 6,000+ clubs or leagues formed by their State Association.
US Club Soccer (US Club)
Their Mission - US Club Soccer will foster the growth and development of soccer clubs throughout the United States to create the best possible development environment for players of all ages in every club.
US Club is a National organization where registration is run at the National level and online. All registration is the same process and fee structure across the United States.
US Club Soccer has local leagues, regional leagues and National leagues. The NPL, ENPL and ECNL are all national leagues run in-house or by US Club Members.
US Club Soccer’s Player Development Programs (PDPs) are regionally based identification and developmental programs conducted within the id2 Program umbrella. PDPs are focused around the National Premier Leagues (NPL/ECNL) and other top leagues in specific geographic areas.
PDP invitations are based upon objective scouting of elite clubs and leagues, combined with recommendations from top Directors of Coaching. Each PDP includes at least one training session and one internal competition. Some PDPs also include off-field educational components, as well.
Established in 2004, US Club Soccer’s id2 National Identification and Development Program provides an opportunity for the country’s elite youth soccer players to be identified and developed, and scouted for inclusion in U.S. Soccer’s National Team programs.
Founding Principles of the id2 Program:
All decisions for the entire country in US Club Soccer come from the US Club Board of Directors while all decisions for USYSA come from all 55 state associations.
2003-99/00 ECNL Girls - only play in US Club/ECNL because enough competitive games
2004-99/00 ECNL Boys - play league and some events in US Club/ECNL, but also play in a few cross over events that accept both USYSA and US Club teams.
2003-99/00 Academy Girls - play in both as they attend ECNL events and play in USYS State Cup/Ohio-South State League
2006 Academy Girls - play in USYS only - Play in Ohio-South State League and State Cup. No US Club league available to play in.
2005 Academy Boys - play in both USYSA (BPYSL) and US Club (pre-ECNL matches). There is not a mandatory US Club (ECNL) league for 2005, but there are some clubs that want to participate and matches are set up.