Competition Platform


2009-2010:  The inaugural ECNL season included 40 of the top girls’ soccer clubs across the country, with more than 2,000 players participating in ECNL competition in the U15, U16, and U17 age groups. Teams competed in one of two competitive flights (the “A” Flight or the “B” Flight) for the ECNL National Championship, the ECNL Club National Championship, and promotion and relegation between the flights. Games were played at 5 different ECNL National Showcase Events held throughout the country, and all participating teams came together for the first annual ECNL National Championship in Seattle, WA in July 2010.

2010-2011: In its second year, the ECNL expanded in membership, competitions, and age groups.  Twelve new clubs were added from a pool of nearly 80 applicants across the country, bringing the total number of ECNL member clubs to 52. The ECNL also expanded to include the U18 age group. Finally, the ECNL schedule expanded to include regional competition to supplement the existing ECNL National Showcase Events. The ECNL National Championships were held in Aurora, CO in July.

2011-2012: The ECNL's third season agains saw expansion, this time to a total of 66 soccer clubs. Most importantly, the ECNL also grew the competition platform to include regional conference play, with a total of approximately 30 games per team over the course of the year between conference play and national event games.  The 2011-2012 season was the first season that ECNL competition became the primary, if not the only, competition for these 66 clubs and their players.  This focus allowed clubs to provide an improved environment with a better training-to-game ratio and more demanding and consistent competition.  To begin extending the development opportunity to younger age groups, the ECNL also included a limited U14 schedule in 2011-2012.

2012-2013: In the fourth year of the ECNL, signs began to show that the league was maturing and getting close to its full size.  Expansion was limited, as only 7 clubs were added to reach a total of 73 clubs.  Conference play became the dominant portion of the ECNL schedule, with conference results determining qualification for the ECNL post-season - a change from previous seasons.  The top 32 teams in the ECNL, based on conference games and limited wildcards, qualified for the ECNL Champions League post-season play-offs.  The next best 32 teams in the ECNL qualified for the ECNL North American Cup play-offs.  Both play-offs were contested in Aurora, CO, with the top 8 teams in each competition qualifying for the ECNL Finals.  The inaugural ECNL Finals were played in Richmond, VA where the winners of the ECNL Champions League were crowned the ECNL National Champions.  The winners of the ECNL North American Cup were crowned cup champions. 

2013-2014: The 2013-2014 season was the smallest expansion to-date, with only 3 clubs added to bring the total number of ECNL member clubs to 76. While there was limited conference re-alignment, the competition structure generally remained the same as the 2012-2013 season.  The 2014 ECNL Play-Offs (where the Champions League and North American Cup qualifiers will compete) were played in Seattle, WA in late June - bringing the league full circle to its humble beginnings in 2009.  The winners of each play-off group advanced to the ECNL Finals, again held in Richmond, VA.