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2013 ECNL PLAY-OFFS DRAW AND SCHEDULE RELEASED
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RICHMOND, VA. (June 15, 2013) – After ten months of competition all across the United States, where the country’s best female youth soccer teams faced each other in both conference and national event games, the qualifiers for the ECNL post-season have been determined. At the U18 and U14 age groups, where there is one stage of post-season competition, the top 16 teams in the ECNL will compete to be crowned the 2013 ECNL National Champions. At the U15, U16, and U17 age groups, where there are two stages of post-season competition, the ECNL post-season begins with the 2013 ECNL Play-Offs on Friday, June 21 in Aurora, CO.

The ECNL Play-Offs feature two different play-off competitions at U15, U16, and U17: the ECNL Champions League and the ECNL North American League.

  • The ECNL Champions League consists of the best 32 teams in the ECNL, with top qualifiers from each of the 8 ECNL Conferences. Conference champions, top finishers, and wildcards comprise the ECNL Champions League Play-Offs, where the teams will compete in the most competitive female youth soccer competition in the world to advance to the ECNL Champions League Finals in Richmond, VA.
  • The ECNL North American League consists of the best 32 teams in the ECNL outside of the Champions League. These wildcards have qualified for the competition based on results of all of their games throughout the year, and will be competing to advance to the ECNL North American League Finals in Richmond, VA.

While they are separate post-season competitions, the competition formats of the Champions League and the North American League are the same. In each competition, the participating teams were seeded 1-32 based on results over the season. The top 8 teams were seeded into different play-off groups, and the remaining 24 teams were divided into 3 pools based on seeding. 1 team from each pool was drawn into each play-off group to create 8 play-off groups of 4 teams each. In Aurora, CO, the teams in each play-off group will play a 3-game round robin, with the winner of the group advancing to the ECNL Finals, where the ECNL Champions League National Champion and the ECNL North American League Champion will be crowned.

“Qualifying for the ECNL Play-Offs is one of the most difficult things to do in youth female soccer, requiring players and teams to prove their quality and mettle against the very best in the United States game after game, over 10 months,” said ECNL Executive Director Jay Howell. “In both the Champions League and the North American League, just looking at the list of qualifying teams is exciting, and the emotion on the field in Colorado will be tremendous.”

The ECNL Play-Off draw was filmed. For a links to the video of the draw, click here or visit the website.  

The competition order is also determined by the seeding process, with the final game in each play-off group featuring the marquee match-ups between the first and second seeded teams in each group. “On day 3 of the ECNL Champions League Play-Offs, you will see match-ups between the top 16 teams in the country at every age group,” said ECNL Commissioner Sarah Kate Noftsinger. “It will be one of the most exciting days of youth soccer in the year, with the country’s best on display for everyone to see.”

ECNL Post-Season Overview by Age Group: 

U14 Age Group:  Sixteen 16 teams (the top two teams from each conference) will play a 4-game knock-out competition at the ECNL Finals in Richmond, VA to determine the ECNL National Champion.

U15 Age Group:

  • 32 teams in the Champions League will play three games in the ECNL Play-Offs in Aurora, CO.  Eight (8) Play-Off group winners will advance to the ECNL Champions League Finals in Richmond, VA in July to determine the ECNL Champions League National Champion.
  • 32 teams in the North American League will play three games in the ECNL Play-Offs in Aurora, CO.  Eight (8) Play-Off group winners will advance to the ECNL North American League Finals in Richmond, VA in July to determine the ECNL North American League Champion.

U16 Age Group:

  • 32 teams in the Champions League will play three games in the ECNL Play-Offs in Aurora, CO.  Eight (8) Play-Off group winners will advance to the ECNL Champions League Finals in Richmond, VA in July to determine the ECNL Champions League National Champion.
  • 32 teams in the North American League will play three games in the ECNL Play-Offs in Aurora, CO.  Eight (8) Play-Off group winners will advance to the ECNL North American League Finals in Richmond, VA in July to determine the ECNL North American League Champion.

U17 Age Group:

  • 32 teams in the Champions League will play three games in the ECNL Play-Offs in Aurora, CO.  Eight (8) Play-Off group winners will advance to the ECNL Champions League Finals in Richmond, VA in July to determine the ECNL Champions League National Champion.
  • 32 teams in the North American League will play three games in the ECNL Play-Offs in Aurora, CO.  Eight (8) Play-Off group winnerswill advance to the ECNL North American League Finals in Richmond, VA in July to determine the ECNL North American League Champion.

U18 Age Group:

  • 16 teams (the eight conference champions and eight wildcards) will play a 4-game knock-out competition in Aurora, CO to determine the ECNL National Champion.

“Looking at the games that are soon to kick-off in Denver, it’s hard to believe that the first ECNL games ever were played in the fall of 2009, only 4 years ago,” said ECNL President Christian Lavers. “In that short time, with the work and support of the clubs and their technical leaders, the ECNL has become the best youth female competition in the world, and a tremendous player, club, and coach development platform.”

For complete information on the ECNL Play-off, click here
 
About the ECNL: 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.  The Army National Guard is the official military branch of the ECNL.
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