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Rico

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 16
Reply with quote  #1 
It has been a year or so since the last ECNL thread, so I would like to get some updated opinions about the status/success of the league.  I am coming from the parent perspective, as opposed to a coach's perspective...trying to decide if playing for a non-ECNL club will eventually limit my daughters options if she chooses to continue soccer in college.

From what I can tell, the league seems to be gaining momentum and while US Youth Soccer is becoming a bit watered down.  Locally, I am seeing a battle emerging as some of the best/elite teams in the younger ages are from a non ECNL club--causing a bit of chaos and confusion...especially among parents.

paulee

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Registered: 11/29/04
Posts: 7,596
Reply with quote  #2 
Rico, at this stage it is hard to tell, and as in all things, the answer is, "It depends".
First, consider where your daughter is going to school, or wants to go to school.
At the last ECNL match I saw, coaches from Arkansas and Oklahoma were in attendance.  I've also seen Notre Dame, Clemson, Stanford, Texas, A&M, and Rice at ECNL events.  So if your daughter is interested in the big D1 schools, then I'd have to say that ECNL is probably where she needs to play.

That being said, if she's looking elsewhere, then not bieng in ECNL won't hurt her.

What you are seeing with the emergence of elite teams in non-ECNL clubs isn't surprising, and something that I had wondered about.
In this case, the establishment of the DA and ECNL gives the member clubs a pretty clear-cut advantage.  "You want to play at the next level?  You need to be playing for us." 
So one of two things will happen:  The club that those young elite teams are based at will be invited to join the ECNL, 
OR
far more likely, those teams will wind up going to the ECNL club.  It may just be a couple of players at first, but an astute DOC would lure the coach and the entire team over.

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AFB

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Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 6,327
Reply with quote  #3 
Each location is unique. Here is what is happening in my area.

Two years ago there was one ECNL club. Last year they added a second. The second club heavily promoted their connection and claimed that if you wanted to play college you had to play for them. They took a huge hit. There was mass migration of their teams and players away. Many parents did not want the cost and many did not believe the sales pitch.

Today the two ECNL clubs are in merger talks. The second club's teams bombed badly and they are now faced with losing all of their older girls teams. The merger is driven by many things but a main factor is the second club trying to buy the coaches of the first and their teams to preserve the illusion of a strong program.

Paulee, much is expectations and meeting them. If you cannot meet the expectations the organization will fail. That is happening locally with these ECNL. I took what these club said about college and compared where our non ECNL sent players to where the ECNL clubs did. We had more Division 1 signees and more Division 2. We have players going to school on the east coast and throughout the Midwest. We offered cost comparisons and our costs were a third. We then asked why go that route.

When most players will go to a college a few hours from home, I see more and more clubs marketing against the expense.

As to

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paulee

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Registered: 11/29/04
Posts: 7,596
Reply with quote  #4 
AFB, what I've seen so far from our local ECNL is that its basically been National League with a new coat of paint, and they've dropped local league play.
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Rico

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 16
Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks guys for the input.  My daughter is way young, so there is nothing pressing....but there is only 1 ECNL club in my area.  So if ECNL is becoming a "must play" for elite girls soccer, then it might be best to consider switching clubs at some point.  And I am certain other parents are mulling over the same things . 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AFB
The second club heavily promoted their connection and claimed that if you wanted to play college you had to play for them. They took a huge hit. There was mass migration of their teams and players away. Many parents did not want the cost and many did not believe the sales pitch.
 

I have heard conflicting info on just how much more expensive playing ECNL is compared to the traditional USYS for an elite team.  Some say way more expensive...others say about the same.  Perhaps it is a function of just how "elite" the team is.  I imagine non ENCL teams that are winning state cups, doing the regional championships, and competing in a couple of high profile tournaments over the year would be on par expense-wise with ECNL.  While a team that isn't taking it to that level, but still top tier,  might not see near the expense.  But all ECNL teams are required to travel to a certain number of national events...leaving them with little choice---it will be expensive.

Anyway, it is interesting to see how things are unfolding in my area.  I just wish I had a crystal ball to see how things would shake out in 2-3 years.
ParentCoach

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 215
Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rico

I have heard conflicting info on just how much more expensive playing ECNL is compared to the traditional USYS for an elite team.  Some say way more expensive...others say about the same.  Perhaps it is a function of just how "elite" the team is.  I imagine non ENCL teams that are winning state cups, doing the regional championships, and competing in a couple of high profile tournaments over the year would be on par expense-wise with ECNL.  While a team that isn't taking it to that level, but still top tier,  might not see near the expense.  But all ECNL teams are required to travel to a certain number of national events...leaving them with little choice---it will be expensive.

Anyway, it is interesting to see how things are unfolding in my area.  I just wish I had a crystal ball to see how things would shake out in 2-3 years.

Rico - I recommend you do a little investigation on the local ECNL club vs. the next best (likely) competition.

In my part of Ohio, we have two ECNL clubs so it is pretty easy to compare ECNL vs non-ECNL.  And, I'd say none of the clubs seems to be trying to hide anything about the costs.

The clubs post their club fees and what is included on their tryout pages.  The fees are not hugely different between the ECNL clubs and non-ECNL clubs playing at the higher levels.

The ECNL club travel schedule is out there -- they publish their national events, so you can see.  You can also see the "league" schedule based on the current alignment and get a look at how the non-event league schedule shapes up.   Within this are a lot of personal decisions about the cost of travel so it is very difficult for anyone to generalize how things might impact your family.

I have a U16 non-ECNL player and a good friend with a U16 ECNL player and we discuss our costs.  Some observations - others may disagree:
1. The ECNL teams can plan their travel because their teams are guaranteed "accepted" to the events.   For Non-ECNL teams it is a bit dodgy -- our club's teams were not accepted to CASL 2 years ago (because of ENCL taking over that event) and we ended up in Memphis instead (and got caught in an ice storm).  That was not cool and had people planned in advance, they'd have been hurt.
2. This year, the ECNL teams were in Sanford FL a few days before we were at Disney.   The girls' Disney schedule sucks for us...we always miss a day of school, always play new years eve and day, and in making the finals the past two years have had to drive all night to avoid missing a 2nd day of school.
3.  This year, the ECNL teams travelled to Richmond VA the week  before girls Jefferson cup.  They rented motor coaches and I understand the cost of the trip was like $250/kid.   Jeff Cup cost me & my kid about $650 total....and a day and a half of work/school for both of us.
4. Our club has 3 teams in the National League (we just play MRL where travel is not bad at all, esp because we are lower level and are sub-regionalized).  the girls national league team just got back from a trip to Las Vegas...certainly no cheaper than the corresponding ECNL trip to San Diego.

All I'm saying is you can begin comparing the situations now to get a feel.  Each team will be different based on relationships and ability to carpool and possibly roomshare at various events.   For example, we can't share rooms because it doesn't work father/daughter -- but there are plenty of families where moms go to these events and they take turns sharing rooms and really cut their costs.

I'd still advise that the coach & teammates (team "fit") is a more important factor than the club or the league the club plays in....from my perspective.
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