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The ECNL College Impact

The ECNL College Impact series catalogs the huge impact the ECNL has had on college women's soccer in only five years of existence. The College Impact in the Big 12 and the Pac-12 have already been released, and today the ECNL's impact in the Big Ten is announced. In only five years, ECNL alums have become 50% of the Big Ten freshman class, and more than 50% of the entire conference overall. The Big Ten College Impact will continue to grow in the coming years, as 8 of 12 players in the 2013 Big Ten All-Freshman Team are ECNL alums.


The Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) was founded in 2009 to enhance the developmental experience of female youth soccer players in the United States through:

  • Improving the competitive environment through creation of a true national competitive league with multiple flights;
  • Improving the process for identifying elite female soccer players for the U.S. Soccer youth national teams through a systematic scouting and identification program based on national competitions; and
  •  Improving the daily training environment at top female youth soccer clubs through developing best practices and training and organizational guidelines for its member clubs. 

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.

Action Plan
To accomplish this goal, the ECNL developed a common organizational structure, composed of individual clubs operating collectively under the direction of a commissioner. Because the ECNL exists to promote the common interest of its member clubs, the ECNL operating model is unified and comprehensive and values accessibility and sustainability. The ECNL utilizes four primary delivery mechanisms, or platforms, for Changing the Daily Environment:

  • The Competition Platform
  • The Player Identification Platform
  • The Club and Coach Development Platform
  • The HER Platform (a female-specific health, wellness, and rejuvenation platform).

‚ÄčCompetition Platform 

ECNL Conference & Cross-Conference Games: Every ECNL Member Club has been placed into one of eight regional conferences for regular season play. All five ECNL age groups will play every team in their conference both home and away, and then will also play 2-4 cross-conference games against other regional opponents. In total, each team in the ECNL is scheduled to play 15-18 conference or cross-conference games per year.

ECNL National Showcase Event Games: In addition to the conference and cross-conference games, there are five ECNL National Showcase Events throughout the year where participating teams play 3 games at each event. Each team at the U15 and U18 age groups participate in two of these events, while each team at the U16 and U17 age groups participate in three of these events. These games are key to determining the ECNL National Champions at each age group. ECNL National Showcase Events are the largest collegiate recruiting events in the country (drawing more than 200 different colleges to each event), and are scouted by US Soccer National Staff.