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Great Article on the future of ECNL

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Great Article on the future of ECNL Empty Great Article on the future of ECNL

Post by Big Poppy 04/06/15, 10:06 am

http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/club-soccer-articles/ecnl-era-fast-approaching-for-uswnt_aid36606

Whether or not the U.S. Women’s National Team is the favorite to win the fast approaching Women’s World Cup in Canada, it’s certainly on the shortlist. Led by international superstars Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux, it’s impossible to ignore the latent talent on this team. Winning a first Women’s World Cup since 1999 is a big goal, but it’s also an eminently achievable one.

But there’s a common thread running through this team that will almost assuredly be prevalent for the last time in history. This entire 23-player roster was reared through a developmental formula that had existed since the Women’s World Cup had its beginning in 1991. That is, under the provincial auspices of high school soccer and local clubs.

After this Women’s World Cup, things will never be quite the same again for the full women’s national team. The ECNL era will begin in earnest.

Since its foundation in 2009, the ECNL has exerted an increasingly large influence on U.S. Soccer’s youth national team system. Only recently, the snowball’s become a bourgeoning avalanche. At last year’s 2014 U20 Women’s World Cup, 18 of the U.S.’s 21 players had direct ties to ECNL clubs. Similar influence has stamped itself on every tier. At a U14 GNT camp last November, 28 of the 35 players called in were ECNL players. Earlier this year, a January U15 camp (19 of 24), a February U16 camp (20 of 24) and a February U17 invitational (16 of 21) were brimming with the league’s products.

That influence hasn’t made it to the full national team just yet, but that’s primarily because the league hasn’t been around long. During the 2009-2010 season, its first, the league added U15, U16 and U17 leagues in “limited scope,” broadened the scope the next year and then added its full complement of programming with U14 and U18 leagues for the 2011-2012 season.

So while the first players who traveled through its entire spate of leagues, from U14 all the way through U18, won’t be of college graduation age until the 2019-2020 season, the league is already close to producing its first batch of professionals. In fact, Morgan Brian became the first ECNL-connected player to make a Women’s World Cup roster this year, even though her experience was in the non-developmental U23 league. As the years stretch on, it’s merely a matter of when, not if, ECNL-developed players headline future Women’s World Cups.

These are heady days for the ECNL, which is likely watching the last U.S. team in a Women’s World Cup without serious participation from its growing list of alumni.

“I think it’s an exciting time for women’s soccer in general, and ECNL plays an important role on the development side of things,” ECNL commissioner Sarah Kate Noftsinger said. “We can’t write the future, but we can try to predict it. With the ECNL players, you’re seeing more and more they’re getting called into the youth national teams. On the full national team level I think you’ll see that impact.”

What that looks like down the line is anyone’s guess. The ECNL is full of upwards of 80 programs with varying coaching techniques and approaches, and heralding a single style of player from the ECNL is all but impossible. But the fact that the U.S. has struggled to cross the finish line at World Cups over the last 16 years was part of the clarion call heeded by the ECNL, which saw it as a mission to produce a higher class of player in more volume than ever before. In a world previously filled with localized high school and club development systems, the ECNL quickly became the largest and most comprehensive girls league apparatus ever.

Inevitably, that’s filtered into the women’s youth national team system. Real Colorado star Mallory Pugh, who’s just a high school junior, will be 21 years old during the next Women’s World Cup in 2019. Striker Lindsey Horan, who emerged from the Colorado Rush system, will be 25. Defender Cari Roccaro? 24. And midfield string-puller Rose Lavelle will be 23. All of these players are next generation talents reared in some way by the ECNL, and all four - along with a number of teammates - started at last year’s U20 Women’s World Cup.

The next cycle presents an interesting opportunity for the ECNL’s growing (and maturing) stable of players. Of the 20 outfield players suiting up for the U.S. in Canada this summer, nine - nearly half - will be north of 30 by the time the tournament ends. That includes key pieces like Carli Lloyd and Abby Wambach, both of whom are probably playing their last World Cups as anything approaching centerpiece players. Roster spots will be hard to earn, as they have always been, but the stampede of players raised under the banner of the ECNL is coming.

It will take some time for the ECNL to stamp a deeper imprint on the national team scene, but the organization is doing its best to promote a fluid style in concert with U.S. Soccer leadership, starting with senior team coach Jill Ellis at the top.

“I think you’re seeing a more confident, complete player developing,” Noftsinger said. “These players from a young age now are playing in the most competitive environment there is. It’s almost like your muscle reactions to things. You can train the mind to get used to those moments, and on a big stage they’re having those at a younger age. And that’s really good for them, so that when they are playing in a World Cup final, it’s our hope they’re prepared for it.”

The ECNL is independent of U.S. Soccer as a league, but Noftsinger says the relationship the two organizations have forged over the years has led to a smooth transition between the two for players down the line. Indeed, as recently as nine months ago Ellis herself was at an ECNL event scouting players.

“(U.S. Soccer) has hired some of these developmental coaches across the country now that we work with on scouting and have close relationships with the coaches,” Noftsinger said. “That’s so essentially the coaches in the ECNL, they’re the ones seeing the players day in and day out, and they’re just an extension of what’s going on in a national team environment.”

The two are so integrated, in fact, that if a player returns from a national team camp with constructive feedback about her game in tow, that’s often relayed to her club coach and integrated into his game plan.

“In the six years the ECNL has been around, that relationship with the federation has become stronger and stronger, and it’s very collaborative,” Noftsinger said. “Because at the end of the day, we’re not the federation, but we are here to support them and help them be the best in the world.”
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Post by Guest 04/06/15, 10:27 am

I'm glad someone posted this article. It is complete nonsense and another indicator of topdrawer being an ecnl rag. I will get into the details later, but anyone sane can see claiming rose lavelle or morgan brian as ecnl players is ridiculous and the entire argument that the league is changing the national team for the better has no supporting evidence whatsoever.  

My biggest questions are why does ecnl try so hard with these shady marketing claims....why does it need to do this? And why in the world did USYS sign on to use topdrawer as their PR site? It would be like Hillary Clinton deciding to send all her campaign PR exclusively to Fox News....u really think their agenda matches yours? Topdrawer should be getting publicly shamed for some of this stuff, but an independent, objective national soccer website with similar reach does not (yet) exist.

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Post by Guest 04/06/15, 10:34 am

Didnt the U20s just get blasted by Japan, stocked with ECNL talent?

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Post by Big Poppy 04/06/15, 10:54 am

4-3-3 wrote:I'm glad someone posted this article. It is complete nonsense and another indicator of topdrawer being an ecnl rag. I will get into the details later, but anyone sane can see claiming rose lavelle or morgan brian as ecnl players is ridiculous and the entire argument that the league is changing the national team for the better has no supporting evidence whatsoever.  

My biggest questions are why does ecnl try so hard with these shady marketing claims....why does it need to do this? And why in the world did USYS sign on to use topdrawer as their PR site? It would be like Hillary Clinton deciding to send all her campaign PR exclusively to Fox News....u really think their agenda matches yours? Topdrawer should be getting publicly shamed for some of this stuff, but an independent, objective national soccer website with similar reach does not (yet) exist.

Maybe you should take your "beef" to ECNL and USYS vs. bashing this article on a deliberate NTX ECNL posting thread. For those parents that have players on ECNL teams....I felt this would be an article they might want to read...nothing more!
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Post by Guest 04/06/15, 11:27 am

Big Poppy wrote:
4-3-3 wrote:I'm glad someone posted this article. It is complete nonsense and another indicator of topdrawer being an ecnl rag. I will get into the details later, but anyone sane can see claiming rose lavelle or morgan brian as ecnl players is ridiculous and the entire argument that the league is changing the national team for the better has no supporting evidence whatsoever.  

My biggest questions are why does ecnl try so hard with these shady marketing claims....why does it need to do this? And why in the world did USYS sign on to use topdrawer as their PR site? It would be like Hillary Clinton deciding to send all her campaign PR exclusively to Fox News....u really think their agenda matches yours? Topdrawer should be getting publicly shamed for some of this stuff, but an independent, objective national soccer website with similar reach does not (yet) exist.

Maybe you should take your "beef" to ECNL and USYS vs. bashing this article on a deliberate NTX ECNL posting thread.  For those parents that have players on ECNL teams....I felt this would be an article they might want to read...nothing more!


Relax...this is a discussion board. I gave an opinion. Feel free to refute it, but you can't post topdrawer PR and expect only parents of ECNL players to have an opinion.

If you can't counter anything I wrote, taking the "you shouldn't post here" angle makes you look limited.

Yes ECNL is the top platform in the country. Yes - topdrawer is making claims that are questionable (i.e. - that ECNL is improving the national teams), and some are outright bogus (i.e. - players like Morgan Brian / Rose Lavelle being claimed as "ECNL connected").

I don't think USYS creating it's own version of PR garbage where they leave out all US club stuff makes sense either...i think the market will support a major soccer web with some degree of independence and journalistic integrity.

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Post by Guest 04/06/15, 11:42 am

Soccerfan79 wrote:Didnt the U20s just get blasted by Japan, stocked with ECNL talent?

They did, but the u17s did great against Japan in Carson a few months back with about the same # of ecnl players.

My point is ecnl the league has no claims on either outcome. It is not a development league any moreso than any girls league that came before it. There is no ecnl playing style. There are wide gaps between the top and bottom. The clubs develop these players, not the league.

The league adds new clubs every year and then tries to take credit for players that were developed and identified before they set foot in the league. How gullible do you have to be to gulp down this type of PR?

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Post by Big Poppy 04/06/15, 02:59 pm

4-3-3 wrote:
Soccerfan79 wrote:Didnt the U20s just get blasted by Japan, stocked with ECNL talent?

They did, but the u17s did great against Japan in Carson a few months back with about the same # of ecnl players.

My point is ecnl the league has no claims on either outcome. It is not a development league any moreso than any girls league that came before it. There is no ecnl playing style.  There are wide gaps between the top and bottom. The clubs develop these players, not the league.

The league adds new clubs every year and then tries to take credit for players that were developed and identified before they set foot in the league. How gullible do you have to be to gulp down this type of PR?

I sent your comments to the Directors of ECNL and USYS.....I will let you know when they get back to me. Way to bring down the room on what was supposed to be a positive post for ECNL parents!
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Post by Guest 04/06/15, 03:14 pm

Bigpoppy...you are missing the point. If my daughter walked in the house today and said she wanted to play ecnl i would send her to an ecnl tryout in a heartbeat. And when she made an ecnl roster I wouldn't lose my ability to separate fact from fiction. I would've had the exact same reaction to this article whether my kid played ecnl or not.

If the tagline said "ecnl staff writer" it wouldn't be a big deal. The fact topdrawer passes itself off as an independent soccer media site is the issue.

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Post by TatonkaBurger 04/06/15, 03:43 pm

By request:

Great Article on the future of ECNL Tumblr_msvxwqQU3J1setwdzo1_1280
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Post by Guest 04/06/15, 03:50 pm

TatonkaBurger wrote:By request:

Great Article on the future of ECNL Tumblr_msvxwqQU3J1setwdzo1_1280

Here is the thing...these articles are not reposted here on accident.

Bigpoppy probably means well, but Topdrawer already has a person doing this job....username is soccershins. He or she posts new threads with a link about something or other, and it always takes you to topdrawer. Same username creates threads on forums all over the country. I subscribe to topdrawer, but doesn't look to me they need any parent help distributing their PR or getting eyeballs to their site.

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Post by Grifter 05/06/15, 12:40 am

4-3-3 wrote:I'm glad someone posted this article. It is complete nonsense and another indicator of topdrawer being an ecnl rag. I will get into the details later, but anyone sane can see claiming rose lavelle or morgan brian as ecnl players is ridiculous and the entire argument that the league is changing the national team for the better has no supporting evidence whatsoever.  

My biggest questions are why does ecnl try so hard with these shady marketing claims....why does it need to do this? And why in the world did USYS sign on to use topdrawer as their PR site? It would be like Hillary Clinton deciding to send all her campaign PR exclusively to Fox News....u really think their agenda matches yours? Topdrawer should be getting publicly shamed for some of this stuff, but an independent, objective national soccer website with similar reach does not (yet) exist.

i think this about sums it up. wow.

you were so glad this got posted.... that is maybe my favorite sentence above. heavens knows it would be any moment before you posted this and got to finally tell us all about the rag that is topdrawer soccer...

now i am glad Big Poppy posted this... i thought he did it clearly for most of us that can read it with a grain of salt, but evidently he knew this topic was next page on your ecnl sermon list.


thanks for the article BigPoppy

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Post by Zizou 05/06/15, 06:10 am

They dont call him the "hater" for nothing! His crusade is not complete until he rises from the ashes to proclaim " ECNL IS DEAD "

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Post by 1more_dd_dad 05/06/15, 08:41 am

I really didn't read the article to say what 4-4-3 claims it is saying. I read it to say the first crop of girls that are in someway "connected to" an ECNL program are now on the national stage and "It will take some time for the ECNL to stamp a deeper imprint on the national team scene" reads as the jury is still out. I guess we all read it differently in accordance with our soccer goggles...
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Post by Guest 05/06/15, 09:04 am

1more_dd_dad wrote:I really didn't read the article to say what 4-4-3 claims it is saying.  I read it to say the first crop of girls that are in someway "connected to" an ECNL program are now on the national stage and "It will take some time for the ECNL to stamp a deeper imprint on the national team scene" reads as the jury is still out.   I guess we all read it differently in accordance with our soccer goggles...


I have not tried to deny the importance of ECNL. My daughter's team has gotten a ton of exposure so far without it. One girl already on a youth national team without it. Despite all of that, and the fact most the girls want to stay together, their coach is working behind scenes to push girls into ECNL. That tells me everything I need to know about the importance of ECNL.... if even a coach with a team in that situation feels it's very important to get some of his players in.

I was glad poppy posted this article because I saw it when first published several days ago and sent it out to a few frieds. Some non-ECNL parents think topdrawer will be a great avenue for publicity and exposure. I've tried to make the case that while topdrawer may rank a few non-ecnl teams at u14 and lower, by u15 the site is fully the PR arm for us club soccer and ECNL, and hitching your wagon to topdrawer would be silly unless you're a us club team.

Put your kid's profile up there, pay attention, but don't expect the same coverage, and don't make it the center of your online presence. Why? Articles like this.

The author selectively chose which camps to count ecnl vs. non-ecnl players in the YNTs. The u15 camp before portland the split was 18 to 10. Rose Lavelle was the brightest star at the last u20 WC, her club background was USYS and ODP and she spent very little time comparatively as a ECNL discovery player. Morgan Brian is about as "ECNL connected" as Mia Hamm. Topdrawer could post an article about Mia Hamm being the precursor to ECNL and folk would link it in forums all over the internet. LOL. Half of them would twist their mind to justify it being true.

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Post by Grifter 05/06/15, 01:08 pm

Great Article on the future of ECNL 6vApA

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Post by thebox 05/06/15, 04:19 pm

Keep that talk up, N Texas might give up a team to Midland or San Antonio....maybe even Oklahoma...nahhh, not Oklahoma

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Post by SantaFe 04/08/15, 07:58 am

Wow- tough crowd. I thought this site was a forum, no? I appreciate the insight from 4-3-3, whose comments were insightful and gave more perspective as to the source.

The fact that some of you call this person a "hater" and such and personally attack them makes me think 433 must have hit a live nerve.

No one owns a thread or whatever message is trying to be spread. 4-3-3 responses were even handed and as someone trying to learn more about this, I thank him/her. So sick of all this trying to shoot the messenger instead of offering counter points and counter facts if you have them.

Thanks 4-3-3.

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Post by Grifter 04/08/15, 01:05 pm

Great Article on the future of ECNL 200

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