2017 So Cal Club Soccer Leagues for Girls

Phew!  It’s been a crazy summer and I’m finally sitting back down to write.  Not only has it been crazy for us, but seriously the girls’ club soccer scene has gotten out of control with the advent of the US Development Academy for Girls.  So many So Cal Club Soccer Leagues for girls with different acronyms… I love how someone described it as “alphabet soup.”  So, as our family enters our 8th club soccer season, here’s a graphic to hopefully help clear up some of the madness…

So Cal Club Soccer Leagues for Girls

A little history… back not even 10 years ago, the club soccer scene in Southern California was streamlined and elite.  Coast Soccer League (CSL)  was “it” and the Premier division hosted some of the best teams in the country week in and week out.   In 2009 the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) was formed, “by forward-thinking Directors of Coaching across the country who saw a need for change in and special commitment to improving the daily environment for American elite female youth soccer players.”  ECNL had regional league play along with numerous national college showcases. Clubs were asked to join this new national league, but it presented a problem with CSL because the best teams in the club wouldn’t be playing in the Premier division of CSL anymore.  

This, along with the restrictive CSL rule of only 3 teams per club, per age group and the strict promotion/relegation structure, spurred the 2011 creation of the Southern California Development League (SCDSL) “to serve the needs of clubs looking to have the ability to control player and team environments.”  This allowed clubs to have more control- they could put their top teams in ECNL, have as many teams per age group as they wanted, pass players between teams, and select the flight of their teams rather than earning it.  Really, this took the power from CSL and put it in the hands of the club DOCs.  After the creation of the SCDSL, clubs started exploding and creating affiliates and we saw the dawn of the super clubs (Surf, Slammers, Strikers and more).  The Elite Girls Soccer League (EGSL) was also created as a spring league for the second teams of the main ECNL clubs and the first teams of the ECNL affiliate clubs.  The California Regional League (CRL) was also created as another way for top teams not in ECNL to play better competition.

Now, with the advent of the US Development Academy for Girls in the Fall of 2017, things have re-structured again.  There are thirteen So Cal clubs that will have DA teams (Albion, Beach, Eagles, LA Galaxy, LA Galaxy San Diego, LAFC Slammers, Legends, LA Premier, Pateadores, Real So Cal, San Diego Surf, So Cal Blues and West Coast Futbol Club.)  Several of these clubs were also allowed to keep their ECNL status as well (Slammers, Surf, Blues and West Coast) and will have both DA and ECNL teams.  The other non-ECNL clubs have decided to form the Development Player League (DPL) for their second teams. At this time it’s not exactly clear what that will look like, but it means that those teams will not be competing in SCDSL or CSL in the Fall. This season there will be four USSDA teams per DA club- 2004, 2003, 2001/2002, and 1999/2000.  Those teams will play a 10 month season with a Winter Showcase in Florida, Spring Showcase in North Carolina and a Summer Showcase/Playoffs in San Diego. Girls are not allowed to play High School soccer and must attend practice four days a week.

Phew… all this to say… do your homework when choosing a club and team!  Although it’s confusing, there are SO many great options for our girls.  My two girls play at very different levels at different clubs and in different leagues, but they are both super happy and hopefully, we’ve found the best fit for each.  As always, I’m not an expert, just a soccer mom who is interested in all the details.  Please do your own research to find the right fit for your kids.

If you are interested in reading more about these leagues here are some of my previous posts.  When reading, make sure to take note of the post date!  Things change so quickly around here…

2017 USSDA Counting the Cost

2017 USSDA Timing is Everything

2017 USSDA Clubs Announced

2016 USSDA for Girls

2015 ECNL and EGSL Big, Bigger, Biggest

2015 What is ECNL?

2014 ECNL and EGSL- What’s the Deal?

2012 So Cal Smackdown- CSL, SCDSL, ECNL, NPL

2012 SCDSL First Thoughts

2012 Pacific Developmental NPL