August 13, 2014
In This Issue
LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT

Reflecting Back ... and Moving Forward

 

Looking back sometimes helps in finding the best path forward.   This statement summarizes the focus of the ECNL as the league begins its 6th season this month. By remembering where the ECNL has come, and why the ECNL was formed, we hope to make the 2014-2015 season the best one yet.

 

The first ECNL games ever played were in August 2009. At the time, the league consisted of only 40 clubs, playing in only 3 age groups (U15-U17). Each team played 9 ECNL games in the season, and there was no such thing as a "stand-alone" ECNL event. The ECNL mission statement was to "change the landscape," but there was a significant distance between our aspirations and the reality.

 

Fast forward to the ECNL's fifth season (2013-2014) ... and the changes that have been made in the landscape of elite youth female soccer are incredible. The 2014 ECNL Play-Offs, once again in Redmond, WA, were the most competitive female youth club event in the world.   Except for the defined off-season, ECNL competition now takes place on almost every weekend of the year, and the ECNL National Events are the biggest college recruiting and scouting platforms in the United States. The league operates Coaching Development Programs to raise the standard of coaching, and Player Development Programs to provide more resources and opportunity to top players. The ECNL is now the focus of the country's very best female youth soccer players, teams, and clubs.

 

It is with this progress and these memories in mind that the ECNL Board of Directors and staff met in July to discuss the past, present, and future. This meeting was the start of a discussion that will continue for many more months - starting with remembering why the league was created, and the goals and aspirations for the league. This backdrop created the context for discussion about the future: analysis of what the league does well and where it needs to improve, questions about which competition structure was best and what tools can be utilized to improve coach and player development, consideration of what can be done to reduce costs for players and families in the league, and more. The discussion was fantastic, but more importantly, it was productive.

 

I am excited to state that there will be several changes for the 2014-2015 season that are designed to help make this the best season yet in the ECNL, and to make the ECNL even better for players and teams:

  • Hotel Subsidy for the ECNL Finals. To reduce the cost of travel for players in the league, the ECNL will cover the cost of the majority of player hotel rooms for teams that qualify for the 2015 ECNL Finals. The league will allocate multiple rooms for every day of the event to each team participating in the ECNL Finals.
  • Changes in the ECNL Play-Offs. While the structure of the Champions League (32 teams) will remain the same, the North American Cup will be limited to 16 teams in 2014-2015. To reduce travel for these teams, the North American Cup Champion will be crowned at the ECNL Play-Offs in a four-game "knock-out" - like a true cup competition. These changes will allow these teams to finish their competition season in June, without the cost of an additional post-season trip. (16 additional teams will attend the ECNL Play-Offs in the Showcase Division where they will play 3 games.)
  • Improvements in U14 Event Atmosphere and Choice. To improve the experience and atmosphere at U14 Showcase Events, the league will host only 4 events in 2014-2015: 2 of the U14 events will be in conjunction with existing ECNL National Events for U15-U18 teams (Phoenix and San Diego), and 2 of these events will be specially focused on U14 teams. To help each club manage their travel costs more effectively, clubs will be free to choose to attend any number of these U14 Showcase Events. Clubs with heavier travel burdens may choose not to participate in any, and clubs with lighter travel burdens may choose to participate in multiple events.

More details on all of these changes will be released in the coming weeks, but there are even more changes going on behind the scenes: the league has hired additional staff to improve communications and club services, additional resources are being put into coaching and club development, the player identification and scouting system for ECNL PDPs and the ECNL / id2 National Training Camp is being refined - and so much more!

 

Every change made by the league is made in an attempt to help make the ECNL better for players, clubs, and families. We hope you agree and are excited by some of this news.

 

The ECNL was created to elevate the landscape in youth female soccer - to improve the daily player experience, to improve club and coach development, and to raise the level of the game. In 5 years, there has been incredible progress in these goals. Now, as we begin the 2014-2015 season, the 6th year of ECNL, we are recommitting ourselves to reviewing and analyzing the ECNL and its platforms to insure that the next 5 years are even more positive for the game and the players.

 

Thank you for your support!

 

Christian Lavers

President, Board of Directors

Elite Clubs National League

ECNL ALUMS ARE EVERYWHERE AT THE U20 FIFA WOMEN'S WORLD CUP

The 2014 FIFA U20 Women's World Cup kicked off on August 5th in Canada with a highly anticipated match between the 2012 U20 World Cup Finalists, the United States and Germany.  While the US lost the game 2-0, they rebounded with a tough 1-0 win over Brazil a few days ago - with the goal and assist coming from ECNL alums Summer Green (MI Hawks) and Lindsey Horan (CO Rush).

 

The ECNL is well represented at the World Cup, with 18 of the 21 women on the U20 Women's National Team being ECNL Alums.  This accomplishment speaks volumes about the quality of competition in the ECNL, and the great work being done by ECNL Member Clubs in player development!   

 

The 2014-15 ECNL season is dedicated to celebrating the Amazing Young Women that have helped mold this league into the top female youth club soccer platform in the world.  As we introduce this campaign, we start by celebrating the 21Amazing Young Women on the US Soccer U20 FIFA Women's World Cup Team.    

 

U20 US Women's National Team Roster:

(1) *Katelyn Rowland - San Juan SC
(2) *Christina Gibbons - CASL
(3) *Cari Roccaro - Albertson Fury
(4) *Brittany Basinger - FC Virginia
(5) *Rose Lavelle - Ohio Elite 
(6) *Taylor Racioppi - PDA
(7) *Savannah Jordan - Concorde Fire
(8) *Summer Green - Michigan Hawks
(9) *Makenzy Doniak - Slammers FC
(10) *Lindsey Horan - Colorado Rush
(11)  Rachel Hill - Seacoast United
(12) *Mallory Pugh - Real Colorado
(13) Carlyn Baldwin - BRYC
(14) *Nickolette Driesse - PDA
(15) *Margaret Purce - Maryland United 
(16) *Stephanie Amack - Mustang SC
(17) *Andi Sullivan - Bethesda SC
(18) *Jane Campbell - Concorde Fire
(19)  Kaleigh Riehl - BRYC
(20) *Katie Naughton - Sockers FC
(21) *Rose Chandler - Concorde Fire
*denotes ECNL Alum
AMAZING YOUNG WOMEN   |   #ECNLAYW

Thank you to the Amazing Young Women that have played in the ECNL in the past, and those that are playing now. You have made the ECNL what it is, and you are the role models for those that will play in the league in the future. 

Look for the hashtag #ECNLAYW as this marketing campaign launches in the 2014-2015 season!  
NATIONAL EVENT ASSIGNMENTS

The 2014-2015 ECNL National Event selections have been announced!  Similar to last year, each U15 team will play in 2 National Events, U16 and U17 teams will play in 3 National Events each, and U18 teams will play in 1 National Event. The 2014-2015 ECNL National Event dates and selections are as follows:

  • ECNL Phoenix:  Fri, Nov 14 - Sun, Nov 16, 2014 | Team List
  • ECNL Sanford, FL:  Sun, Dec 28 - Tues, Dec 30, 2014 | Team List
  • ECNL Fort Worth, TX:  Fri, Feb 27 - Sun, March 1 | Team List
  • ECNL San Diego, CA:  Fri, April 10 - Sun, April 12, 2015 | Team List
  • ECNL PDA, NJ:  Sat, May 23 - Mon, May 25, 2015 | Team List
NEW AND IMPROVED TRAVEL PROGRAMS - THE HOTEL LOTTERY

The ECNL will begin the new and improved hotel booking process for the 2014-2015 ECNL National Events.  The new system is a "lottery" system designed to eliminate the "mad dash" created in previous events, and to eliminate unnecessary stress, aggravation, and uncertainty in the process.  The new system will improve the booking process in many ways:

  • Control the flow of reservations;
  • Defuse conflicts in availability;
  • Remove the need for travel coordinators to call multiple hotels;
  • Eliminate unanswered messages and unreturned calls;
  • Keep a real-time inventory of available rooms; and
  • Allow better negotiation of rates and add-ons.

For each National Event, ECNL officials will randomly draw club names from a pot to determine reservation order at the event.  Once the draw is complete, each club will be notified of their position in the booking process.  (To insure fairness for all teams, teams that are in the bottom of the lottery for one event will be drawn in the top for their second national event, and so-on.)  

The first five clubs for designated events will be notified when they are "on the clock" to begin the booking process.  Each club will then receive a link to the reservation website(s) with a minimum of 48 hours to evaluate the available choices and make a hotel selection.  Clubs will not need to initiate contact - Maverick Sports will initiate contact with each club as they come "on the clock."   
AMAZING YOUNG WOMEN SHARE THEIR STORIES
VOTE TODAY!  ECNL ON THE NEXT WHEATIES BOX?
Christen Press, current member of the US Women's National Team, professional women's soccer player for the Chicago Red Stars, and alum of Slammers FC could be on the cover of the next Wheaties Box!  But, she needs your help to win Wheaties NEXT!
Find out more about the rules of the competition by logging on to wheaties.com.
 
Here's how you can help: 
  1. Sign up for the Wheaties NEXT challenge at mapmyfitness.com/wheatiesnext and start logging! 
  2. Rally your friends and your network, by sharing the above link.
Feel free to reach out to Christen with any questions: footballschristenpress@gmail.com.

#ECNLAYW  |  CHRISTINA GIBBONS
Christina is an ECNL Alum (CASL), currently a member of the U20 US Women's National Team (playing in the 2014 U20 FIFA Women's World Cup), and a sophomore at Duke University.  We caught up Christina as she prepared for their final group match versus China! 

Q: Can you fake any accents?  If so which one?
A:  I like to think that my British accent is really really good, but for special occasions I have a Russian accent.
 
Q: If you are first on the bus, what seat do
you take? Why?
A:   I would typically pick a row that is between the middle and back of the bus because I hate not knowing what is going on behind me; that way I can see everything.  Always aisle seat if possible, claustrophobia. 
 
Q: In five words or less, what was is like to wear the US National Team jersey? 
A:  A true honor. 
 
Q: Stop, what do you have in your pockets right now?
A:  Nothing but my hotel room key, I don't take advantage of pockets as much as I should.
 
Q: If you designed a training session (that you got to play in), it would consist of _________. 
A:  A technical warm up, a small possession drill, and 5v5 to big goals. 

Q: Do you have any hidden talents?
A:  I really enjoy doing impressions, mostly from
movies.

Q: I, Christina Gibbons am not good at __________.
A:  Braiding hair. Seriously hardest thing ever.

Q: Advice for players looking to play soccer in college? 
A:  My best advice would be to continue to work hard and stay motivated regardless of what happens. A lot of things won't go exactly how you want them to, but how you respond to those things is most important. 

Q: Describe your first road trip in your first car.
A:  The first road trip I really remember was for soccer and I was in the backseat with my parents in the front. We were on our way to Washington DC, I got car sick, we had to pull over on the side, and lets just say it wasn't the smoothest of rides.

Q: If you could be a cartoon character, you would be_________:
A:  Otto from Rocket Power just because he was awesome.

Q: Do you have any phobias?
A:  Sometimes claustrophobia, but I also have a huge phobia of crumbs. I hate crumbs.

Q: What is your pre-game superstition?
A:   My socks have to be folded perfectly or else everything is just off.

Q: Favorite Pre-Game Meal?
A:  Turkey sandwich panini

Q: Current #1 most played song on your iTunes?
A:   Dixieland Delight - Alabama

Q: My longest streak without a shower is ___________. 
A:   Maybe 24 hours, however that hasn't happened in years. I love feeling clean.

Q: Favorite city you visited for ECNL?
A:  Seattle.

Q: Who would you call your Soccer Idol (besides Skate)?
A:  This is tough question.  It's not necessarily one person but recently with Carla Overbeck as one of my assistant coaches at Duke, I've learned so much from her as a player and a person.

Q: If you could choose to be any animal, what would it be?
A:   A dog, they're the best!

Q: If you could choose to be any person for a day, alive or deceased, who
would it be?
A:  I would love to be one of my ancestors to see where I come from and how they lived. 

Q: What was your first concert?
A:   Backstreet Boys - they killed it. 

Q: Best advice you ever received or favorite quote?
A:  My club coach who said this to me before I left for college, "Be hungry, but stay humble." I loved it because I feel like it describes my mentality and it is awesome advice.

Q: ECNL prepared me for ___________.
A:  College Soccer. 
PARTNERSHIP UPDATES
Gatorade | Sideline Set-up for Regular Season Matches!
As part of the ECNL Game-Day Minimum Standards, ECNL Member Clubs must provide the Gatorade Sideline Set-up for all regular season home matches.  Gatorade provides PERFORM to ECNL Member Clubs for all 2014-15 ECNL regular season matches. It should be set-up per the Gatorade ECNL Field Guide (Click Here). Shipments are scheduled to arrive by August 27, 2014.  If your club's Gatorade shipment does not arrive by August 29, 2014, or should you have Gatorade product and premium inquiries throughout the season, contact Kelly Ponce, kponce@paragonmarketing.biz.

Nike | Incyte II Ball
Each year, Nike and the ECNL provide each Member Club with twenty (20) Nike Incyte II balls for use in training and competition.  As part of the ECNL Game-Day Minimum Standards, three of these Nike Incyte II balls must be available at every ECNL regular season competition.  All Nike ball shipments were scheduled to arrive by August 10, 2014.  If your shipment has not arrived, contact info@eliteclubsnationalleague.com.

ECNL Bag Tags
Every returning ECNL Member Club will receive a FedEx shipment from the ECNL containing 25 ECNL bag tags.  Returning Member Clubs should distribute these bag tags to their ECNL U14 team or other new players on older teams.  We hope you enjoy them and display them proudly.  If you do not receive a shipment by August 25, 2014 please contact info@eliteclubsnationalleague.com.
IMPORTANT DATES IN THE 2014-2015 SEASON

August 15, 2014
Fixture Date Changes Due

October 4-5, 2014
ECNL U14 Showcase - Grand Park/Carmel, IN

November 14-16, 2014
ECNL Phoenix - Phoenix, AZ

December 28-30, 2014
ECNL Sanford - Sanford, FL

February 27-March 1, 2015
ECNL Texas - Ft. Worth/Arlington, TX

April 10-12, 2015
ECNL San Diego - San Diego, CA

May 9-10, 2015
ECNL U14 Showcase - Greer, SC

May 23-25, 2015
ECNL New Jersey - Zarephath, NJ

June 23-28, 2015
ECNL Playoffs - Seattle, WA

July, 2015
ECNL Finals


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