The Boys ECNL is off to a tremendous start in just its first year. The level is high, college coaches are taking notice, and the top soccer organizations want to be a part of this fast growing program. There are still many questions as to what, exactly, the league is all about.
All photos courtesy of Deb Varland.
HOW DOES THE BOYS ECNL WORK?
The league is a national league that stretches from coast to coast broken into conference based on the clubs location. The 2017-18 season is comprised of five (5) conferences: Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Texas (Conference Map). Two new conferences have been announced for the 2018-19 season, Mid-Atlantic and Mountain West, as well as several new clubs that will join existing conferences.
WHAT CLUBS ARE IN THE LEAGUE?
For Ohio Elite, the Midwest Conference is comprised of
All clubs in the Boys ECNL can be found here.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PLAYING IN THE BOYS ECNL?
HOW DO YOU QUALIFY FOR THE BOYS ECNL?
Clubs must apply to be a member of the league. Each club must commit teams in the U14, U15, U16, U17, and U19 age groups. Clubs are granted membership based on several factors including, but not limited to, overall club quality, club organization/administration, location, and past team and player history. Clubs interested in applying to the Boys ECNL can fill out an application.
HOW DO I PLAY IN THE BOYS ECNL?
To play in the Boys ECNL, you must play with a club in the league. If you are interested in playing in the league, contact Dave Schureck, Ohio Elite Director of Coaching for information firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT IS THE SCHEDULE LIKE?
Each conference creates their own schedule based on clubs season and high school season. Schedules are also adjusted depending on conference geography.
In the Midwest, the conference in separated into EAST & WEST divisions. Each club play the other clubs in their division two times (Home & Away) and the other divisions clubs once (either home or away). The Midwest conference has 12 games for the 2017-18 season. Each conference strives to play between 12-16 games per season.
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM USYSA REGIONAL LEAGUES?
The biggest difference is the Boys ECNL is a club league. Clubs must commit U14, U15, U16 , U17, & U19 teams. Each team plays their age group opponent on the same day. Clubs are not relegated or promoted yearly based solely on results. This allows coaches and directors to be with each team versus having teams at multiple venues or different cities on the same day.
The Boys ECNL also maintains high administrative and game day standards. All standards are enforced by a full-time commissioner and the league board. Failure to comply with standards can result in point penalties and/or removal from the league.
HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FROM THE DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY?
In a lot of ways it is very similar. Both the ECNL and the DA have high standards for their leagues. Both attract a lot of interest from college coaches. And both have a lot of talented players, coaches, and teams competing. The biggest differences are the ECNL allows for players to compete in high school soccer and other activities. Conference schedules are designed around the high school seasons. The ECNL does have limited substitution which prevents a player that is substituted to re-enter the game for the duration of the half. The ECNL believes that clubs and coaches know what is best for their players in their markets. The league does not dictate a style of play or a set formation. Coaches and clubs are allowed to make choices that work best for their available players and can develop talents that make sense for each individual, team, and market.
WHAT ARE THESE STANDARDS?
All game fields are expected to be high quality grass or artificial turf. All games must have benches for both teams as well as a hydration station that includes water, ice, and Gatorade. Trainers are also required to be at each match.
All players and coaches are carded through US Club Soccer. players may compete with older age groups, but may only play in one match per day. A player may play with multiple teams, as long as they only play one game a day.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER REQUIREMENTS?
Each club must attend 1-2 National Events depending on the age group. This season the national events were
Ohio Elite attended ECNL Florida with the U16, U17, & U19 teams and ECNL San Diego with U15-U19.
ECNL FLorida saw over one hundred college coaches in attendance at Sanford, home of the Orlando City (MLS) training grounds.