San Diego was one stop for the ECNL Showcase Events Series along the Road to Waukegan
Youth Soccer News: Hundreds of Top Girls' Soccer Teams Converge on Waukegan for Elite Clubs National League National Finals
Massive, Weeklong Event Will Crown National Champs in U-14 through U-18 Age Groups
The Elite Clubs National League resumes its National Showcase Event Series in Chicago's northern suburbs on Sunday, as the country's top girls' club teams conclude the 2011-12 ECNL season at the ECNL National Finals in Waukegan, Ill.
A weeklong event, the National Finals bring together the nation's top teams in the U-14, U-15, U-16, U-17 and U-18 age groups to crown the ECNL national champions. The event also gives players unparalleled exposure to hundreds of college coaches from across the nation. All matches will be played at the Waukegan SportsPark.
"The Road to Waukegan" began with the outset of the ECNL regular season in September and crisscrossed the United States for five ECNL Showcase Events. These events are a central part of the league's mission to enhance the developmental experience of female youth soccer players in the United States.
Each event brings an estimated $3-4 million in direct economic impact to its host community. The series kicked off in Phoenix in October, then moved to the southeast in Sanford, Fla. to close out 2011.
In February, teams gathered in San Antonio, and about a month later another set of clubs took a trip west to San Diego. Last month the final showcase of the regular season took place in Zarephath, N.J. as clubs worked to secure playoff berths.
Each team at the U-15 and U-18 age groups participated in two national events, while each team at the U-16 and U-17 age groups participated in three of these events.
A very high standard of play is the norm at ECNL National Showcases, and the 2012 ECNL National Finals will be no exception.
While every ECNL club will be playing in Waukegan, the "Top 16" Under-15 through U-18 teams in Flight A, and the "Top 8" teams in U-15 through U-17 B-Flight, will be competing for a national title. The "Top 16" U-14 teams, meaning the top two teams from each ECNL conference, will also be competing for a National Championship
But even for the teams outside the top of their respective flights, there will still be plenty to play for, as each team's final placement will score points for their club in the most coveted national title, the 2012 Overall Club Championship. Additionally, hundreds of college scouts are expected to turn out to scout the nation's most talented girl soccer players.
ECNL typically welcomes upwards of 300 college recruiters at each event, and scouts from U.S. Soccer are also in attendance to identify and evaluate players for possible inclusion in United States Youth National Teams.
Learn more at the official website of the ECNL National Finals: http://eliteclubsnationalleague.com/schedule/12NationalChampionship/index_E.html
About the ECNL: The Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) is a registered 501(c)3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization. The ECNL was founded in 2009 to enhance the developmental experience of female youth soccer players in the United States. ECNL seeks to improve the competitive environment through the creation of a true national competitive league with multiple flights, augmented by a systematic scouting and identification program and an improved daily training environment at top female youth soccer clubs.
The goal of the 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. Follow ECNL on Twitter @theECNL and Facebook: Elite Clubs National League. Visit the official ECNL website for more information: http://www.eliteclubsnationalleague.com. The ECNL is sanctioned by US Club Soccer and sponsored by Nike.
Related Article: Elite Clubs National League's Zarephath Showcase Event