The ECNL, the nation’s leading youth soccer league, announced Wednesday the creation of a groundbreaking and exciting new program within the league’s Player Identification and Selection Platform in the fall of 2021 focused on further serving and developing the very best players in the United States.
Reflecting the growth and increasing strength of the league and its players, the ECNL Super Cup will be an additive program for U15-U18/19 players to supplement the training and competition provided in ECNL Club Competition, and to create a “First Team” culture and pathway within youth soccer clubs — including the Louisville City FC and Racing Louisville FC academies.
The Super Cup program will allow each participating club (boys or girls) to manage a single pool of top players from across the U15-U18/19 ages for additive training and competition in addition to existing ECNL Club Competition. The program, piloted in early 2020, is the first of its kind in American youth soccer, providing ECNL clubs a unique platform and pathway for players to achieve new levels of excellence, and further paving the path from youth soccer to the highest levels, including college, professional, and national team soccer. Super Cup players will continue to roster with their age appropriate teams and competitions, with this added opportunity to train and compete in best-versus-best environments.
“For more than a decade the ECNL has been paving new ground and creating new opportunities for the nation’s best athletes to fulfill their potential,” said ECNL President Christian Lavers. “The pathway created by the ECNL Super Cup is once again raising the bar of what our clubs can offer their best players, without creating more burden on, or reducing the value provided to, every other player in the league.”
The ECNL Super Cup will include a limited but scalable number of divisional games per participating club in the 2021-2022 season, with many clubs expected to offer a 10-month programming option for these players. The Super Cup will also include additional minimum standards beyond the standards and expectations within ECNL Club Competition in areas of coach licensing, substitution, video and training. Complete Super Cup standards and expectations will be released by the ECNL in the near future.
Super Cup rosters will have a minimum number of required players in each age group in training and competition, from U15 to U18/19, to ensure development opportunities are provided to all ages. Super Cup rosters will also be fluid and able to change day-by-day based on performance and development, at the club’s discretion, with matches scheduled to avoid overlap with ECNL National Events and with most age-specific programming and competition.
“The Super Cup will foster an environment of best versus best where the physical, mental and emotional development of players will be tested in new ways to allow ECNL clubs – both male and female – to continue to serve as the clearest pathway to college, national teams, and professional soccer,” Lavers said.
The Super Cup program is part of the league’s rapidly expanding Player Identification and Selection Platform, adding to the existing National Selection Games, National Training Camp, and Conference Selection Programming.
With the addition of the Super Cup, ECNL clubs will now be able to manage a complete and progressive development and competition platform for players across multiple age and performance levels, extending from the ECNL Regional League, to the ECNL Club Competition, to the ECNL Super Cup. This scope of programming and opportunity constitutes the most robust and thorough developmental pathway for players in the country.