ECNL CONFERENCE REVIEW | MIDWEST CONFERENCE

  • January 13, 2015

ECNL_Logo_final_colorRICHMOND, Va. (January 13, 2015) – The Elite Clubs National League is the top female youth soccer competition and development platform in the United States, consisting of 7 conferences across the country and 77 member clubs.

ECNL conference competition is the heart of the ECNL, and the primary method by which teams qualify for the post-season ECNL Play-Offs every year.  Conference games feature some of the most heated rivalries in youth soccer, and winning an ECNL Conference Championship is a matter of huge pride for every player and club.

The ECNL Midwest Conference finished as the top conference in the ECNL last year based on the year-end ECNL OverallClub Rankings, and conference members earned two ECNL National Championships in 2014.

  • Michigan Hawks (featuring the 2014 U14 ECNL National Champions & U18 ECNL National Finalist)
  • Eclipse Select (featuring the 2014 U16 ECNL National Champions & U17 ECNL National Finalist)

Michigan Hawks and Eclipse Select have consistently been the top two clubs in the conference, and each is also one of the best clubs inthe country – finishing 3rd and 4th respectively in the 2013-14 Overall Club Rankings.

The Midwest Conference generally plays the majority of its conference games in the fall, but several clubs also play some conference games in the spring season, (along with spring National Event competition), due to the number of teams in the conference that do not play high school soccer.

ECNL MIDWEST CONFERENCE AT-A-GLANCE:

Member Clubs (9): Eclipse Select Soccer Club, FC Wisconsin Eclipse, Michigan Hawks, Minnesota Thunder Academy, Sockers FC, Sporting Blue Valley, SLSG – Illinois, SLSG – Missouri, and Vardar

2013-14 Conference Champions:

  • U14: Michigan Hawks ECNL U14
  • U15: Michigan Hawks ECNL U15
  • U16: Michigan Hawks ECNL U16
  • U17: Eclipse Select Soccer Club ECNL U17
  • U18: Michigan Hawks ECNL U18

2013-2014 Champions League Qualifiers:

  • U15: Eclipse Select Soccer Club, Michigan Hawks, Sockers FC
  • U16: Eclipse Select Soccer Club, Michigan Hawks, Sporting Blue Valley, Vardar
  • U17: Eclipse Select Soccer Club, Michigan Hawks, Vardar

2013-2014 ECNL Finals Qualifiers:

  • U14: Michigan Hawks, Sockers FC
  • U16: Eclipse Select Soccer Club
  • U17: Eclipse Select Soccer Club
  • U18: Eclipse Select Soccer Club, Michigan Hawks, Sporting Blue Valley

Here is a brief look into each Member Club in the ECNL Midwest Conference: 

Eclipse Select Soccer Club

The Eclipse Select Soccer Club is built on a tradition of excellence and is committed to establishing teams that can compete for an ECNL National Championship each year.  Founded in 1997, the club is known for its demanding and intense environment, a technique used to prepare players for the next level.

Players to Watch:

  • Isabella Cook (US YNT)
  • Caitlin Haislip (US YNT)
  • Alissa Gorzak (US YNT)
  • Nicki Hernandez (US YNT)
  • Alia Martin (US YNT)
  • Tatum Milazzo (US YNT)
  • Zoe Redei (US YNT)
  • Reilly Martin (US YNT)

FC Wisconsin Eclipse

FC Wisconsin was founded in 2012 as a girls-only club dedicated to raising the standards for excellence for aspiring female players in Wisconsin.  Though a young club in comparison to many, FC Wisconsin Eclipse sent a team tot he U23 ECNL National Championship game in 2013, and a team to the North American Cup Finals in 2014.

Players to Watch:

  • Jordyn Bloomer
  • Jen Wandt
  • Lindsey Weiss

Michigan Hawks

The Michigan Wolves-Hawks Soccer Club is a non-profit premier level soccer club for both girls and boys.  Founded in 1974, the club has earned several Conference Championships and consistently sent teams to compete in the ECNL National Finals Event.

Players to Watch:

  • Alexa Spaanstra (US YNT)
  • Isabelle Rodriguez (US YNT)
  • Marisa Viggiano (US YNT)
  • Courtney Peterson (US YNT)

Minnesota Thunder Academy

The Minnesota Thunder Academy is the premier soccer club in Minnesota with the goal to provide a professional environment where youth can learn to train and compete at the highest level possible.

Players to Watch:

  • Jade King (US YNT)
  • Meredith Haakenson (US YNT)
  • Addi Clarke (US YNT)

Sockers FC

Sockers FC was formed in 1986 as a boys only club, developing the first girls team in 1997.  In seventeen years the girls program has quickly established itself as one of the top youth programs in the Chicago area.

Players to Watch:

  • Kayla McCoy (US YNT)
  • Emma Thomson (US YNT)
  • Ryan Gareis (US YNT)
  • Katia Novi
  • Celiana Torres

Sporting Blue Valley

Sporting Blue Valley offers both recreational and premier youth soccer program opportunities in the Kansas City area.  In the ECNL, the club’s teams were formed by a merger of the player pools from KCFC and Blue Valley Soccer club, and then an affiliation with Sporting KC.

Players to Watch:

  • Dorian Bailey (US YNT)
  • Sinclaire Miramontez
  • Keelie Fothergill
  • Cecilia Kizer

SLSG – Illinois

In 2007 St. Louis Soccer Club, Scott Gallagher Soccer Club, and Metro United Soccer Club combined to form St. Louis Scott Gallagher, establishing a new era of youth soccer programming in the region.  SLSG is divided into 2 divisions (Illinois and Missouri) based on the player pool they service.  SLSG-IL is the organization serving southern Illinois.

Players to Watch:

  • Tamia Cash
  • Ambere Barnett
  • Emily Holton
  • Kate Lorenz
  • Kelly Gravs

SLSG – Missouri

St. Louis Scott Gallagher – Missouri (SLSG – MO) serves players throughout Missouri, and shares the same rich SLSG history.  In 2015, SLSG will launch a new men’s professional team in the USL PRO League, continuing a long history of St. Louis soccer leadership, and adding another level of play to the club.

Players to Watch:

  • Anna Lawlor (US YNT)
  • Gaby Lawlor (US YNT)
  • Madison Meador- (US YNT)
  • Sarah Luebbert
  • Caitlin Eddy

Vardar

Vardar Soccer Club is a youth soccer club founded in 1982 and based out of Livonia, MI.  The club has multiple affilitates around Detroit and throughout Michigan.

Player’s to Watch:

  • Kelly Sweeny
  • Connor Huggins
  • Hannah Redoute
  • Bella Jodzis
  • Zoe Gaffney

To learn more about ECNL Conferences, visit www.eliteclubsnationlleague.com.

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About Amazing Young WomenTM:  The Amazing Young Women campaign is a dynamic platform of online and local market activations that showcase and celebrate female role models offering an aspirational focus for all female athletes and teens as they prepare to be our next generation of leaders.  Throughout the 2014-2015 season, the ECNL will showcase what it means to have #BeautifulAmbition as exemplified by former and current ECNL players, and will call on all of the nation’s women to join the movement to celebrate the endless potential of today’s girls.

About Elite Clubs National League:  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: (i) Improving the competitive environment through creation of a true national competitive league; (ii) 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 (iii) 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 ECNL is sanctioned by US Club Soccer and is sponsored by Nike Soccer.

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Jen Woodie
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