MISSION: The Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit member-based organization 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.
GOAL: 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, and
- The HER Platform (a female-specific health, wellness, and rejuvenation platform).
HISTORY: The ECNL was founded in 2009, with 40 of the top girls' youth soccer clubs in the country competing in league games (U15-18), an identification and development program, and a National Championship tournament in Seattle, WA.
In the eleventh season, 2019-2020, the ECNL consisted of 94 member clubs, with limited conference re-alignment.
New member acceptance decisions were based on multiple different factors, including: 1) long-term club history in female soccer, 2) long-term history in development of female soccer players, 3) club leadership and management structure, 4) club vision and philosophy, and 5) geographical considerations.
RESULTS: South Carolina United FC believes the ECNL has become the leader in female youth development in the U.S. today. It provides the top female competition in the country and the best girls' national league in history. As well, the ECNL maintains close ties with U.S. Soccer at multiple levels, creating an ideal platform for the identification of top players at the lowest cost ever.