Can Dallas Sting Win 3 Titles in a Row?
RICHMOND, Va. (May 7, 2015)Â – For complete coverage please visitÂ www.topdrawersoccer.com.
The ECNL is a first priority for the majority of the nationâ€™s top up-and-coming womenâ€™s national team players. When Morgan Brian made her first team debut, she became the first ECNL-connected player to do so. She wonâ€™t be the last. Soon enough, the majority – if not all – of the USWNT will have some tie to the league. The youth national teams bear that out.
In the meantime, top talent is making its way through the appropriate channels. And nobodyâ€™s doing it with quite the style ofÂ Jennifer Westendorf.
Georgia program GSA has built quite the resume this season entering the U18 playoffs later this year. Their team point total is one of the best in the league, and their 78 team goals is far and away the top total in the Southeast Conference. Just one player accounts for the lionâ€™s share of those: Westendorf. The highly toutedNotre DameÂ commit has an unreal 36 goals in 21 matches, piling on to a reputation thatâ€™s been scarcely matched in ECNL history.
ECNL records only go back so far, but Westendorfâ€™s most prolific club campaign ever is piling onto a historic legacy. Over the past three seasons, split between U16, U17 and now U18 teams at GSA, Westendorf has 99 goals. Just one more will tip her into the coveted 100 club, which has been occupied by few denizens in the leagueâ€™s history.
Westendorf is next in line up top for this U20 WNT cycle. Sheâ€™s sure to replace PSGâ€™s Lindsey Horan as the top option at striker, and with an olderÂ Mallory PughÂ at her side itâ€™s difficult to imagine many defenses having an answer. Westendorf has speed and size to match her finishing ability, which should lead to a few glances from the full national team in the more experimental moments that immediately follow World Cups. Further, Abby Wambachâ€™s retirement will assuredly lead to more looks for younger strikers.
Westendorf still has a club career to finish, but on this track one would hope she gets a USWNT look or two in the new cycle.
Dallas Sting U18s continue to roll
There may be no ECNL team to match the one PDA just matriculated out of the system last year. That team won back-to-back national titles and didnâ€™t lose a regular season game in over two years, a national league event game in three years and league game in four. But this Dallas Sting group is putting itself in similar company.
When Sting smashed the second-place Dallas Texans 6-2 last week, it cemented their place atop the Texas Conference and all but assured them the No. 1 overall seed in the postseason later this year. What it also did was continue an unbeaten roll with this particular group of players that extends back to 2013. At 16-0-1, Sting has yet to lose a match this year.
That legacy goes back. As a U17 group, this team finished the 2013-14 regular season 15-0-3, went 3-0-0 in the playoffs in Seattle and then went 4-0-0 in at the finals in Virginia to win the national title. And they won the U16 title in 2013, albeit with a single loss on the ledger. After going 14-0-4 in the regular season and 3-0-0 in the playoffs, Sting lost to Slammers 1-0 on the first day on the finals on July 11, 2013. They havenâ€™t lost since.
Even still, this particular team still has a regular season legacy to uphold. They havenâ€™t lost one So Cal Blues handed them a 2-1 loss on Sept. 29, 2012. A year before, theyâ€™d made it to the championship match only to lose to the Slammers FC team that beat them again the next year in the U16 postseason. Only that time, Sting ended up emerging with the championship.
As a U17 and now a U18 squad, nobodyâ€™s been able to touch this Sting side. If they put the capper on their ECNL careers with another national title, three straight will have quite the ring to it.
May 7, 2015 by Travis Clarke, TopDrawerSoccer.com
About Elite Clubs National League:Â Â 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.Â The ECNL is sanctioned by US Club Soccer and is sponsored by Nike Soccer.