I started writing this in July but am now just finishing…
OK, things are really getting out of control now. The newly announced EGSL (Elite Girls Soccer League) is a new league to “address the college recruiting needs of the sister team players” in the ECNL clubs. Not only will the top teams of the Elite Clubs National League get exposure, but now the sister teams (second teams) will as well.
On one hand, this makes a lot of sense because those sister teams are usually very strong teams in their own right with many players going up to play on the ECNL teams. From what I understand, the goal is for both teams will travel together and play the same clubs and consequently the share the same exposure to college coaches.
On the other hand, it seems like a strategy against the new California Regional League and another way to funnel kids into the ECNL clubs. Many teams were excited about the CRL as is it performance based and gave all teams an opportunity to compete. The older ECNL teams were not going to participate, but it seemed that all of the sister teams applied. Hmm… gotta wonder if someone saw a missed opportunity here??
As I’ve said before, neither of my girls plays for an ECNL club and I’m not even sure if they are interested in playing in college. If they want to, that’s great- I’m sure that they will be able to find a school where they can play, whether it’s Division I or an intramural team. I’m not sure how many parents have seen Division I athletics in action, but it’s a HUGE commitment which could really get in the way of the important college experiences of
parties, football games, greek life learning and preparing for a career. Back my college days I was a “recruiting guide” for a big D1 football program and I remember being really surprised at the very little bit of free time the players had. Life was governed by rules and restrictions from both the NCAA and the university. I think that path has to be chosen by a kid who is passionate about their sport…not pushed by parents who like the prestige and the thought of a scholarship.
I’ll get off my soapbox now, but the writing on the wall is pretty clear. The so cal soccer landscape is increasingly dominated by the ECNL clubs who are now growing by the minute without the restrictions of Coast Soccer. The EGSL is just another way to solidify that control. In fact, I have a feeling LSG, along with the rest of her club, could be wearing the uniform of an ECNL club in the near future. A little sad? Maybe, but it’s exciting too. Good for soccer? I don’t really know, I’ll leave that to the experts. Good for kids? Every family needs to make the choices that are right for them.
Update 2015: EGSL is expanding in Southern California and including the top teams of the ECNL affliliate clubs (example CDA Slammers, Anaheim Surf) in the EGSL Spring League. If you want to read more about the affiliates please read this post- ECNL & EGSL- Big, Bigger, Biggest.