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Post by Badgerfan76 06/05/21, 10:23 am

New to NTX soccer.  Need some help. Daughter is trying out for a few ECNL clubs.  During tryouts last night was told by a few parents and even one coach that clubs with new ECNL teams are not really same level as those who have had ECNL.  Can someone help me with this?  What is the difference between ECNL clubs (new and old?).  Also was told that new ECNL competition should be less competitive than Classic leagues? How can that be true?

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Post by psrtx 06/05/21, 11:43 am

From my understanding, there are now 3 Tiers in ECNL

1. ECNL (Top tier, with teams from Sting, Solar, DKSC, Texans, and FCD)
2. ECRL (ECNL Regional league, same clubs as above)
3. New: ECNL RL NTX (North Texas regional league). This has been expanded to included additional clubs (such as Renegades, BVB?....)

Classic league D1 and ECNL RL NTX should be about the same level.

Rumors: GA (competitor to ECNL) maybe starting up in North Texas with few clubs as well.

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Post by smugrr 06/05/21, 02:28 pm

Indeed, and there is some overlap, ie a NTX regional team may also play in another league. The level 2 teams as noted above almost never do since the schedule involves 22 games and three out of town weekends, matching the same schedule as the ECNL team. GA may work, especially since the Federation will put pressure on the MLS teams (FC Dallas) to have their women's affiliates join. Also, some clubs excluded from ECNL (Lonestar, Dash) will have an incentive to join. In may create some confusion since the North Texas teams will also carry the ECNL-RL banner but not play at the same level as the ECNL-RL teams in the traveling league. Just be careful for whom you are trying out.

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Post by Truthiness 06/05/21, 02:31 pm

My two cents for the current girl's soccer landscape in this part of the country is below.  It changes a lot every few years.  So it might be even be outdated by the time I finish typing.

Tier 1:  
ECNL...The very best teams in the Texas ECNL conference are national title contenders.  These are the best teams from the Big 5 clubs in Dallas (DKSC, Solar, FCD, Sting x 2, and Texans).

Tier 2:
ECNL-RL...The very best teams here can compete well with the bottom half of ECNL teams.  Consists of the Big 5 club's 2nd teams.
Girl's Academy...Nationally, the best GA team's can compete favorably with ECNL teams, but in Texas/Oklahoma it's roughly on par with ECNL-RL.  Locally, there isn't a GA team in Dallas now, but BVB will join the league next year.

Tier 3:
FDL...The very best teams can likely compete with the bottom ECNL-RL teams
ECNL RL NTX...The best teams can likely compete with the bottom ECNL-RL teams.  Consists of the top teams at smaller clubs or the 3rd / 4th teams at the Big 5 clubs.
Classic League...Also consist of the top teams at smaller clubs and the 4th+ teams at bigger clubs.

I'm probably missing some platform that should be in Tier 3, but that's off the top of my head.  It's confusing.  Almost intentionally so.  A family needs to be pretty well informed in order to sift out the truth.  When in doubt, do your research on the coach, pick a good one, and stick with them.


Last edited by Truthiness on 06/05/21, 04:30 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Forgot Kicks)
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Post by PassItBack 06/05/21, 04:26 pm

Well done! Don't forget DKSC, as they are part of girls ECNL as well. ;-)
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Post by Badgerfan76 06/05/21, 04:30 pm

This is very helpful. You hear ECNL and think its all the same and I guess it really isn't. Thank you!

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Post by Truthiness 06/05/21, 04:31 pm

PassItBack wrote:Well done!  Don't forget DKSC, as they are part of girls ECNL as well. ;-)

Wow. Dumb oversight on my part.

Yes, of course. Big 5 (DKSC, Solar, FCD, Sting x 2, and Texans).
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Post by KeeperMom897 07/05/21, 12:02 am

Where would your rank NPL? And is Plano Premier really just becoming “expensive Rec soccer”?

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Post by Ladycougar 07/05/21, 12:37 am

Plano is rec.

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Post by Swirvin 07/05/21, 01:24 am

Here's an example, Solar SC, America's #1 girls' club:
ECNL: #1 No doubt
ECRL or ECNL-RL, same same (Regional): #2 No doubt and can compete with lower ECNL teams
ECNL-RL-NTXx2 (Local) #3 in name and theory
FDL x2: #4 in theory
LHD1 and NPL: Further down
Plano: might as well be Rec


Last edited by Swirvin on 07/05/21, 01:29 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : 'cause)

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Post by CuriousSoccerMom 07/05/21, 01:27 pm

In the Houston area, we are learning that ECNL Comp (which is not listed in the options above, but is possibly considered part of ECNL) is being eliminated. There will now be ECNL, ECRL Comp and ECRL2. Also not listed above is USC RL which was once USC Champions League but was moved under the ECNL umbrella last year. It is my understanding ECRL Comp and ECRL2 will be for the junior/senior players only, and under that there will only be ECRL (so only the u18/19 teams will have two ECRL teams). Will that affect the Dallas area teams, as well? I'm curious to know if the top Dallas teams will field teams for ECRL Comp and ECRL2. The Houston area teams are torn on fielding both ECRL Comp and ECRL2.

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Post by smugrr 07/05/21, 01:44 pm

I would assume ECRL Comp will mean ECRL Composition for the 18/19 year old kids, which has been run as a separate ECNL league for a while. I can well imagine if there is a spot, a league, DFW will come.

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Post by smugrr 07/05/21, 02:55 pm

It would be nice if the "subleagues" were labeled something different. We are already seeing some potential confusion with the "regular" ECNL-RL teams because the label in the tryout blogosphere looks the same.

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Post by KeepersBeCrazy 07/05/21, 03:24 pm

smugrr wrote:It would be nice if the "subleagues" were labeled something different. We are already seeing some potential confusion with the "regular" ECNL-RL teams because the label in the tryout blogosphere looks the same.  
It's not a bug, it's a feature

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Post by G21DD 07/05/21, 04:11 pm

CuriousSoccerMom wrote:In the Houston area, we are learning that ECNL Comp (which is not listed in the options above, but is possibly considered part of ECNL) is being eliminated.  There will now be ECNL, ECRL Comp and ECRL2.  Also not listed above is USC RL which was once USC Champions League but was moved under the ECNL umbrella last year.  It is my understanding ECRL Comp and ECRL2 will be for the junior/senior players only, and under that there will only be ECRL (so only the u18/19 teams will have two ECRL teams).  Will that affect the Dallas area teams, as well?  I'm curious to know if the top Dallas teams will field teams for ECRL Comp and ECRL2.  The Houston area teams are torn on fielding both ECRL Comp and ECRL2.

Does anybody know if there will be a difference in the ECRL Comp and ECRL2 teams in terms of showcases or tournaments they can go to? Will ECRL comp be at different showcases than ECRL2?

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Post by CuriousSoccerMom 07/05/21, 11:02 pm

That is an excellent question. It is my understanding that ECRL Comp & ECRL2 will participate in all the same showcases and tournaments. At one point, we were told they would be two teams in the same “bracket” and would play against each other. Then we were told they would be like A and B teams in different brackets. We are often given incorrect or out-of-date information, though. Also, there have been so many changes in the past five years, and things change so fast, it’s hard to keep up!

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Post by chiclechicle 08/05/21, 08:28 am

It's a valid question and easy to get confused. As soon as you get familiar with one abbreviation, it's no longer applicable and some new league comes on to the scene with promises of bigger, better things. My opinion, don't chase the "alphabet soup" of soccer and choose your team based on the coach. Visit practices 3 or more times, show up to games or practices as an observer, do your research, ask hard questions. You might think you want one thing for your child's development, but when it turns out to be something different than your expectations, you and your kid are disappointed. Not all coaches give equal playing time, especially if you're #15-20 on the roster and the higher you go up the food chain, the higher the pressure is to win, even if that means leaving your kid on the bench.

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Post by LexingtonABQ73 08/05/21, 08:46 am

When you need a degree in calculus to begin to understand this KIDS soccer monster, perhaps it isn't about the girls anymore and is just another big business doing what they do. Wish there was a better way or system. Its not all bad of course or I wouldn't have my DD play and go through this. But at least I'd argue the ECNL system shouldn't start for girls as young as it does.

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Post by dtk9119 08/05/21, 11:28 am

What we have heard is similar to CuriousSoccerMom posted above here in STX. ONE ECNL team (1st team) per club in TX Conf (12 clubs FCD,DKSC,Solar,StingB,StingR,DTX,,OKE,TSC,StingA,CE,Challenge,Albion). There will be 14 clubs in the TX Conf RL next year (FCD,DKSC,Solar,StingB,StingR,DTX,OKC,OKE,TSC,WSA,StingA,CE,Challenge,Albion). The question is will there be ONE or TWO ECNL-R teams PER CLUB competing in the TX Conference? I've heard some clubs will have one and some will have two? For clubs with two teams (an "A" and "B" team that are "equal" or not?) in TX Conf. Then there will be location based teams competing in the USC-RL and NTX-RL. For each of these 14 clubs in TX Conf some will have 2 teams and some have one team at the U18/19 level? That's puzzling. Maybe some will have 2 that would grow the # of teams in the conf to around say 20 teams and then they would be able to split into 2 divisions for less travel? The key question is if you are at a club that has 2 teams in TX Conf RL, would the 2 teams be "equal" or would it be a situation like Sting B and Sting R where B is clearly the superior team. Why do they have to make this so confusing esp for the oldest age groups that are jacked up b/c of the birth year designation? Just go back to the school year designation which would clear all this up and certainly make it easier for recruiting.

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Post by smugrr 21/05/21, 02:58 pm

And do not forget that joining the North Texas ECRL are teams from the smaller clubs (not sure how many), just like is already true in S. Texas. I have serious doubts there will be two teams for each club in the Texas Conference ECRL. I also remember seeing that Oklahoma is adding a club to ECNL (and the rest that goes with that), ie Energy. And a rumour FC Dallas will go to the new Federation league and follow other girls divisions of MLS teams (Dash perhaps). In short it will sort itself out in a month or so. Meanwhile, nothing but tryouts clogging the blogosphere.

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Post by dtk9119 21/05/21, 04:19 pm

Very true. The league structures are a mess right now esp in U18/19. Every club is telling families something different which tells me they don't even know. How are you supposed to be confident accepting a spot on a team when you dont know your league/opponents? ECNL seems set, but everything below that is a mess after they did away w/ Comp. Time will tell...

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Post by CuriousSoccerMom 24/05/21, 02:15 pm

Well, so far, I know for certain that Challenge has two ECRL teams at the u18/u19 age group (ECRL Comp and ECRL Red), along with Dallas Texans, D'Feeters and FC Dallas (I'm not 100% certain about this one, but based on what their website represents, there will be two teams). So, there will definitely be two ECRL teams in the u18/u19 age group. The questions are, (2) how many clubs will field two teams and (2) will all the teams be in the same bracket or will there be A and B brackets. Has anyone in Dallas learned anything substantial that might answer these questions?

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Post by timmyh 25/05/21, 11:08 am

CuriousSoccerMom wrote:Well, so far, I know for certain that Challenge has two ECRL teams at the u18/u19 age group (ECRL Comp and ECRL Red), along with Dallas Texans, D'Feeters and FC Dallas (I'm not 100% certain about this one, but based on what their website represents, there will be two teams).  So, there will definitely be two ECRL teams in the u18/u19 age group.  The questions are, (2) how many clubs will field two teams and (2) will all the teams be in the same bracket or will there be A and B brackets.  Has anyone in Dallas learned anything substantial that might answer these questions?

I think you are confusing the multiple layers of ECNL.

Next year there will be one ECNL team per age group, and one ECNL-RL team per age group (the latter is the club's 2nd team that travels with the ECNL team and plays the same schedule).  

There are then multiple teams per club (or none) that could conceivably play in the 3rd ECNL tier and play a bit more locally against big club 3rd/4th teams or small club top teams, which in North Texas is ECNL-RL NTX and in South Texas is ECNL-RL USC.

You say Challenge has 2 ECNL-RL teams for next year.  I assume in most every age one will be in the ECNL-RL league, and one in the ECNL-RL USC league. It's confusing, but those are not the same levels of play. In the oldest age group of U19, I believe ECNL Comp will simply be rolled into the ECNL- RL and most clubs will have two teams there. Pretty much same as before (but combined into a single table).

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Post by CuriousSoccerMom 25/05/21, 11:31 am

Nope, not confused about the ECNL layers. I completely understand the various leagues under the main ECNL umbrella. For the u18/u19 teams, there will be two ECRL teams because the ECNL Comp teams are now under the ECRL as ECRL Comp. There will still be three "top" teams, but now the second and third teams will be ECRL, as opposed to two ECNL teams (ECNL & Comp) and one ECRL team. The ECRL NTX and USC RL teams will be the 4th teams (and possibly 5th teams) for the u18/u19 age group.

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Post by dtk9119 25/05/21, 01:07 pm

CuriousSoccerMom wrote:Nope, not confused about the ECNL layers.  I completely understand the various leagues under the main ECNL umbrella.  For the u18/u19 teams, there will be two ECRL teams because the ECNL Comp teams are now under the ECRL as ECRL Comp.  There will still be three "top" teams, but now the second and third teams will be ECRL, as opposed to two ECNL teams (ECNL & Comp) and one ECRL team.  The ECRL NTX and USC RL teams will be the 4th teams (and possibly 5th teams) for the u18/u19 age group.

I do not think this is the case. It makes no sense that the 3rd team in the u18/19 age group would play 2nd teams in ECNL-RL TX conf. Especially w/ STX clubs as they do not have near the depth that NTX does. Regardless, our understanding and what we are hearing is that the 3rd teams WILL be playing in a STX (i.e. USC) and NTX RL. U18/19 will be basically be like all other age groups. ECNL (1st team TX conf), ECNL-RL (2nd team TX conf), ECNL-RL (3rd team and below NTX/USC conf with probably different tiers).

Honestly, I think this whole thing is still in flux and won't be hashed out until we get to the off-season.

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