About a year ago I wrote a post about ECNL and EGSL- What’s the Deal? and it is one of my most popular posts. If you want specifics, please read that post, but in short ECNL stand for Elite Clubs National League and is presently the most competitive girls league in the country. There are only eight clubs in Southern California (Eagles, Real So Cal, Slammers, Strikers, West Coast, Blues, Arsenal and Surf) and that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. ENCL doesn’t officially begin until U14 so there is quite a bit of shuffling around that year as parents try to secure their daughters spots on one of the coveted teams. Not much has changed here since last year, but that is not the case for the EGSL- Elite Girls Soccer League.
EGSL is the brilliant idea of the Southern California ECNL clubs and originally dealt with the “sister” teams of the ECNL teams. It provided a Spring League and Showcases for them to compete and ostensibly be seen by college coaches. There isn’t as much travel and commitment and still provides a solid team with the possibility of getting on the ECNL team roster.
Here’s where the clubs get bigger and the brilliance of the plan is revealed… as I wrote about in my post How ECNL and SCDSL are Changing the Definition of Team, many of the ENCL clubs have started gathering franchises or “affiliates.” For example, Slammers FC based in Newport Beach now has CDA Slammers Cerritos (formerly Strikers, formerly Infinity), CDA Slammers Huntington Beach (formerly ?), CDA Slammers Tustin (formerly ?), Irvine Slammers (formerly FC Blades), South Slammers (formerly So Cal Athletic?). San Diego Surf now has franchises in Anaheim, Murietta, Inland Empire, San Clemente, Hawaii and Utah and there are numerous Strikers affiliates.
I’m not sure if it’s the intention, but parents are now being sold on the prestige of playing for an ECNL club even if the ECNL team has nothing to do with the actual affiliate club. But, now ALL of the affiliate teams/clubs are able to play in the EGSL. This is from the EGSL website…
Who will play in the EGSL for the 2014/15 season?
The ECNL sister teams for the NorCal and SoCal ECNL clubs along with the ECNL Affiliate Member Clubs in SoCal will be participating in the EGSL. NorCal and SoCal will be participate in the Jr. ECNL age groups (12 and 13) and the sister teams in the 14-18 age groups will play in the EGSL. NorCal will play a fall EGSL season and SoCal will play a spring EGSL season. The NorCal and SoCal Jr. ECNL age groups will cross-play at an EGSL spring event in NorCal in March, 2015. The NorCal and SoCal 14-18’s cross-will play in a College Showcase event in SoCal in spring of 2015. All age groups 12-17 (not including 18’s) will automatically qualify for the EGSL Regional Championships to be held in the summer of 2015.
What does the spring league consist of In SoCal?
Southern California U14 – U18 sister teams will play each other, in the spring, either home or away, preferably on the same play date at the same venue as their ECNL counter-parts, to maximize the potential of college coach attendance at the games. The EGSL will piggy-back the ECNL schedule when possible. All games will count towards standings within the league and towards seeding at the EGSL Regional Championships.
There will be a separate “affiliates” division in the EGSL for the “A” teams of ECNL member club affiliates. This will be a spring league division and participating teams will be seeded in to the EGSL sister team division for the Regional Championship event.
I’m not sure if it’s always been this way and I didn’t understand how it worked or if it’s new for 2014/2015 but this is definitely a difference maker if the EGSL becomes successful. I think it’s been a bit of a struggle to get started and I’ve heard mixed reviews, but there is definitely increased potential there as it’s not limited to just the ECNL sister teams. That is potentially a large number of teams! It’s important to note that the affiliates have a separate division in the EGSL Spring League so they will not be playing the sister teams of the ECNL teams. Confused much?
Update 2/6- the 2015 Spring League EGSL schedules have now been posted and there are several things of note. In the U9-U11 age groups there is one bracket that includes both the ECNL clubs and the affiliates. In the U12-U13 age groups there are two brackets- elite and champions. The elite bracket is composed of the top teams from the 8 ECNL clubs and the champions bracket is composed of the top teams from the affiliate clubs. In the U14, U15 and U17 age groups the elite bracket is composed of the second teams from the ECNL clubs and the champions bracket is composed of the top team from the affiliate clubs. The U16 and U18 age groups only have one mixed bracket.
This is just one more area where you need to be informed as a parent. If you are getting the hard sell about joining an ECNL affiliate club and you aren’t sure what you are getting into, you may want to ask the following questions…
-If you are being recruiting to the EGSL team- which one is it? If it’s the second team at the primary ECNL Club (Slammers FC) then you will play in the fall and spring. If it’s the first team at an affiliate of the primary ECNL club (CDA Slammers) that is a different story.
-Will our team be participating in the EGSL Spring League in the affiliates division? (U12 and above)
-How many girls from our affiliate club are on an ECNL (U14 and above) roster? Do they ever play? (You can roster up to 30 players per age group although only 18 are eligible each game.)
-Are there any opportunities to train with the ECNL team? What other opportunities are there?
-Who is the director of coaching for the ECNL program? Is that coach affiliated with your club?
Phew- it’s a lot to take in. Just remember that your club doesn’t have to be an ECNL club or affiliate for your daughter to have an awesome time playing high level soccer and to have the opportunity to play in college. Don’t get me wrong- ECNL has some amazing opportunities and I’m hopeful that one of my girls may be on that track, but it’s definitely not for everyone- no matter what your level of play. There are many options out there, but that’s a whole different post.
What do you think about ECNL, EGSL and all the affiliates? Is it confusing or is it just me? Obviously I’m not an expert so any input is very welcome!