Disclaimer- I am no expert and do not have any personal experience- this is just a synopsis of what I’ve read and researched…and my opinions. Please make sure you do your own research! I’d love for people with daughters currently playing in the ECNL to comment.
The question that I’ve heard over and over again during the last few months is “What is ECNL and EGSL and what’s the difference?” Here’s the details…
ECNL stands for “Elite Clubs National League” and the goal of the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) is to change the landscape for elite female soccer players in the United States through innovative, player-centered programming and to enhance the overall experience by creating a better, more enjoyable, and more successful player, coach, and club development model. (quoted from the ECNL website)
The ECNL began in 2009 with 40 clubs participating and now in 2014 has 76 clubs with official competition starting at u14. Clubs are grouped into seven geographic conferences with conference results determining qualification for a ECNL post season. Only three new clubs were accepted in 2013 and it doesn’t appear that the ECNL will expand at a rapid rate. No new So Cal clubs have been accepted- it’s still only Eagles, Real So Cal, Slammers, Strikers, West Coast, Blues, Arsenal and Surf.
ECNL Players participate in about 15-18 Conference/Cross-conference games, 5 National Showcase Events, and the National Championship Games in August. Although some So Cal teams still play a few games in the SCDSL, the primary focus for these teams is the ECNL Conference. In addition to the competition platform, the ECNL also runs a Player Identification Program for the National team, the Coach and Club Development program to share best practices and the HER Platform to promote female health and wellness. Teams play in a two part season starting in the Fall and resuming in the Spring, taking a break for High School soccer.
The official ECNL program starts at U14, but U12 and U13 teams can participate in a “Jr ECNL” program. There can be quite a bit of travel for the ECNL teams and although our Southern California teams have mainly local conference games, teams from Nevada and Arizona are a part of the So Cal Conference. The National Showcase Events can be anywhere in the country as well as the National Championship Games.
Although ECNL events are only for ECNL clubs, teams are allowed to have “Discovery Players” a player who is not a member of an ECNL club. Each team U14-U17 is allowed two discovery players who participate in all ECNL events with the ECNL team and then all other events with their home (non-ECNL) team. U18 teams are allowed 4 Discovery Players. This can be a great opportunity for girls who distance or other restrictions prevent them from joining an ECNL club.
The EGSL stands for “Elite Girls Soccer League” and was born from collaboration between current Elite Clubs National League (“ECNL”) Directors of Coaching in order to address the college recruiting needs for the sister team players in their clubs. The ECNL has evolved into the premier destination for college coaches seeking to recruit players for their teams and, until now, the excellent, and deserving players on the sister teams not receiving regular exposure on the ECNL teams, were limited in their opportunities to be scouted. The EGSL is a league for the ECNL sister teams designed to attract coaches from colleges of all sizes and all levels which will result in an increased number of scholarship offers for the sister team players. The EGSL was formed with the approval of the ECNL and will include ECNL sister teams as well as the Jr. ECNL first teams (U12 and U13). (taken from the EGSL website)
The EGSL was announced in 2013 and the sister teams from the members of the So Cal conference have been invited to be the founding members. The U14-U17 So Cal EGSL teams will play a Spring League, a Fall and/or Spring College Showcase, and the EGSL Club Championship. So Cal Jr ECNL teams will participate in a Spring League, an EGSL Showcase/Jr ECNL Event and the EGSL Club Championship. Some out of state teams have also been invited to participate in the Showcase Events. The winner of each age group at the EGSL Club Championship earns automatic qualification into the prestigious Surf Cup in August. The EGSL North has also been created for the Northern California teams.
Here’s a little chart I created with some of the differences and similarities…
Phew! Hope that all makes sense. As I said at the beginning, I haven’t yet had any personal experience with either so please correct me if I’m wrong or if you have something to add.
Update 2017- Now EGSL teams have been expanded to all ECNL club affiliate top teams as well as the original ECNL club second teams. I haven’t seen any showcases over the last two years except for Jr ECNL teams. In Southern California there is a thriving Spring League and the ability to write “EGSL” behind your team’s name.