Wednesday, September 25, 2013

U15G - U15 Girls Youth Soccer

This page is focused on Under 15 girls youth soccer in Region 1.

During this transition from middle school soccer to high school soccer, teams seem to change as quickly as the players do.

Stay tuned.


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Anonymous said...

I doubt this rumor is true. It sounds like people trying to create issues where there is none. There is no place for these rumors. Kind of like the PDA guy who says, I heard this team is falling apart.

Anonymous said...

Question: How many top level ECNL teams are attempting to play ECNL, NPL, and State Cup including Premiere/National League?

Anonymous said...

Why is it parents are always trying to change the team their kid is on from within? Put your kid in an evironment where you trust the coach to look out for your child's best interest, that you can afford without griping about cost, and where you can get along for the most part with the other parents. If you dont find that match, move on with your mouth shut. PDA produces quality players at the highest levels. So does Bethesda in my neck of the woods. There are many other teams in the region that this blog covers that do so as well. If your daughter can't make the "A" team for some reason don't fill her head with excuses like "the coach plays favorites" or "the other parents felt threatened by you". Will do nothing to help them deal with disappointment as adults. Every player has their level and they (and their parents) should recognize what it is. Play for the love of the game, not some mythical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If the WNT, tuition assistance, or a pro contract is in your daughter's future, it will be there no matter whether she wears the powder blue or not. If you don't like the ECNL model or a tiered club or a town team, don't play for them. Find a home for your kid that works for them and be happy. Love soccer.
IF from MD

Anonymous said...

I think you have an overly simplistic premise, that if you are unhappy with your situation go find a different situation elsewhere. For sure on the US Club Soccer through the ECNL and NPL have narrowed the pool of opportunities for kids. I think that is a very worthwhile debate. 3 or 4 years ago you had a better environment for all teams having the opportunity to compete. TR and Freehold were very good examples of high quality town teams that were very competitive. Their circumstances have changed for many reasons, but going forward those teams will have very little opportunities to prove their worth agains a Gunners type team and I think that's a shame. Also, in the past environment, if you were not located near an ECNL club you still had ample opportunities to play against those teams. I have been through several kids through youth soccer, and if you have watched over 5-7 years it is clear that there are very closed systems of competition where other teams cannot show themselves even if they have earned it. I'll give you 3 opinions of what's wrong with the current structure. NEFC is an NPL club that is the best NPL team in the region but do not have an ECNL club. Because they have been fairly dominant at the NPL level. Second, I will bet you that PDA does not play in the NJ Cup anymore because it is embarrassing and not inline with their objectives when an NPL team loses to a local town team that had lost quite a few players to an ECNL club the year before. Third, I have heard directly from a few coaches that they want to get away from playing town teams because they do not want to compete against teams that play bad soccer.

Maybe the pendulum will swing back, but the debate over what what US Club Soccer high level teams are doing for competition through closed systems is a very good debate to have regarding the state of youth soccer.

Anonymous said...

I think ABGC and FC VA may be trying to do that. I don't think any of the PA teams do it. I don't think PDA does it. CFC might.

Anonymous said...

I can't speak for Virginia or CT., but I believe quite the contrary. PDA has been narrowing down for the last several years the competition. There are very limited times where PDA is not playing "elite" versus "elite." It is clear from the DOCs team discussions where he wants to take the club and who he wants to be playing.

Anonymous said...

I like the US Club Soccer debate. I don't think there is nothing wrong with it - they are trying to do something the USSF should be doing creating a pyramid for our kids. I agree there is a level for every player. As the player gets better she can move up the pyramid. There is nothing wrong with that in my opinion it's healthy for the player. It will be obvious when the player is ready for the next level on the pyramid.

Tier 1 = ECNL
Tier 2 = NPL
Tier 3 = PL
Tier 4 = Travel
Tier 5 = Rec.

It's simple. ECNL and NPL clubs try to follow the DA standards, so I'm okay with those being closed leagues since not every club likes to play by the rules.

PL and Travel leagues can have pro/rel between them to make sure your strong town teams play strong non-ecnl/npl teams in league play. Nothing wrong with that.

I don't understand why some parents want their kids team to play ECNL teams? If you want your kid at that level tryout for an ECNL club.

PS. It's not a closed system - it's the same system our pros have.

Tier 1 - NWSL
Tier 2 - W-League
Tier 3 - WPSL (i think it's actually tier 2).

This is a closed structure as well.

I agree with you that an open system is the way to go and US Club Soccer is trying to do that for their PL and Travel Leagues.

If your kid's team doesn't follow the DA standards why should they be allowed in.

Do you think a village team in Europe will be allowed to be promoted into top leagues and still play their games on their village field? If they can't they don't get promoted, you usually have a bigger club take it over to play in the league under their brand.

I think US Club Soccer is trying to do something right. But you have the money makers (not willing to give up their piece of the pie). SO you have a lot of dirt being thrown at ECNL and NPL, which is cool it's their opinion.

I just happen to like their model.

It's unfortunate that a team like PA strikers can never play ECNL teams. But they shouldn't be allowed to, all they care about is one age group - where the ECNL clubs care about the game at different ages. And yes people get payed for this as they should I don't expect anyone to do it for free or for peanuts.

PS. what's wrong TR and Freehold playing PA Strikers or PA Classics or any non ECNL/NPL team in a PL that leads to a national event to play other top teams?

Yeah, they prefer Region1 Premier and National League which is cool. What's the difference playing for a USYSA National Title or a PL National Title?

Give US Club Soccer a few more years (they said 10).

ECNL is only 4 years old
NPL is only 3 (2 for girls)
PL is only 2 years old I think.
Travel leagues just finished their 1st year.

Give them time to grow. Look at NYCSL taking over NY reducing ENYSA to rubble. They have Westechester, Long Island and the Cosmo joining them. So instead of 4 different leagues, they will all be ONE with a chance for pro/rel for the teams looking for that and the kids can always leave and look for the appropriate level.

I can see EDP making a power play in NJ also and bring in top teams from upstate NY, CT, PA, DE and MD

Give them (US Club Soccer) time - they are not half way through their 10 year plan.

Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

The system is open for players but not for teams and for the kid who wants to stay with the same team that it has played for for some time and doesn't want to leave. Europe has open systems. There is promotion and relegation and there are open tournaments where teams Premier league teams play second division and third division teams. You describe a US pyramid but it is far from an open pyramid. No team earns a spot in the MSL or NWSL. The ECNL has a board made of of ECNL team heads with no independence so it will clearly be political who gets in and who doesn't rather than teams or clubs earning spots on merit. I posted a while on the crazy goal differentials you see in the NPL and ECNL leagues at all ages, teams and clubs have not earned elite status on merit. There have been a lot of articles posted on this website, a few by me, that point out that the pay-for-play system and the closed system of play as main drivers of why the US does not develop teams and players like you see globally.

To answer your question on the Village field, yes every year the bottom four teams in the Premier League get relegated and the top 4 teams get promoted even though they do not play at Anfield or Old Trafford. This happpens in 8 divisions

Since promotion and relegation happens every year in Europe, when was the last time a promoted team got taken over by a bigger brand, I don;t know of an example. Watch the FA Cup next year where teams from 8 leagues enter and watch some of the fields they play on. They do not separate out a Premier teams and everyone else and it is an honor for teams to play anyone from every league.

Anonymous said...

3:52 "PS. what's wrong TR and Freehold playing PA Strikers or PA Classics or any non ECNL/NPL team in a PL that leads to a national event to play other top teams?"

There is nothing wrong with the scenario you said except that if the ECNL is the elite of the elite, there is no National event mechanism fro TR or Freehold to earn a place to compete against the elite.

There is no doubt that there is a conscious effort by the ECNL and to a lesser extent the NPL to push kids to those clubs, and to limit the ability of smaller clubs to compete for kids. This is good for their clubs but I believe bad for US Soccer.

Anonymous said...

4:24 can TR or Freehold Boys play in the DA league? SO is the USSF limiting the ability of smaller clubs to play their Academy teams? They must be doing the same thing as the ECNL on the girls side? Why do you think? STANDARDS clubs have to meet certain standards to be accepted to the league. It's simple. These clubs don't meet those standards so why should they be allowed to play in that league?

4:18 I was talking Europe not just EPL but if you are more familiar with EPL I can talk EPL. Each EPL flight has certain standard that a team has to meet in order to be promoted, agreed. So what happens if the team doesn't meet those standards? Do they get promoted? So what does the 7-1 beating Brazil took at home in the World Cup do to that Event? Does it hurt it?

What were your suggestions to fix such an issue, did you see mine about college? With all that money these schools have for soccer.

Why don't the schools become the Club, so for example you don't have PDA you have Rutgers.
parents pay

2,500 at u9
2,500 at u10
2,500 at u11
2,500 at u12
2,500 at u13
2,500 at u14
2,500 at u15
2,500 at u16
2,500 at u17
2,500 at u18

So every parent pays 25k for their kids to play soccer. If the kids are talented, Rutgers can offer them a full ride , if the kids are done playing soccer they can have their tuition reduced by 25k and go to Rutgers or they can transfer to another school.

We have taken money out of the equation, all the money paid goes towards a college education. The talented ones learn and advance their game.

Tier 1 NWSL
Tier 2 W-League
Tier 3 WPSL
Tier 4 College
Tier 5 Youth Soccer.

There you go we just opened up soccer for everyone and helped parents reduce their tuitions when the time comes. DO you like? To radical?

Plus we scrap the draft - so pro teams buy the rights of the players from the school - the school makes even more money and will concentrate on developing players instead of winning and the teams that have money get good fast.

We can make the NWSL an open league D1
W-League becomes D2
WPSL becomes D3.

So you can have investors invest in a Tier 3 team buy some top talent from College and in 3 years they can be in the NWSL. It would work. At least in my mind it will, what do you think?

Anonymous said...

Plus if we did this on the Boys side we would build global powers - the LA Galaxy will be an even bigger global brand.

Anonymous said...

I can't speak to the Boy's side because I am not familiar with with. There are many clubs that can meet standards that won't be considered by the ECNL. Yes I'd like to see a promotion and relegation type system, but recognizing how unrealistic that is in the current environment. There are fewer mechanisms for a high quality local teams or even academies to compete against the "elite" even if it wasn't agains the elite. Having played many a game in Freehold, there are actually quite a number of fields that meet or exceed what you see at a PDA or other "Elite" Clubs.

Whether EPL or Spain or other European Clubs. They all have promotion and relegation systems and they have tournaments that accept all comers from higher and lower divisions. I'd still like to see an example of a team from a lower division across Europe that was refused promotion due to Standards. I don't think standards will be as big an issue as you think they will be, but we should have some type of mechanism where teams that emerge as the best can compete with the best. That will not happen in the near term because that will require USYS and US CLub to work together. The only other place to accomplish this would be at large tournaments. We know entry into these tournaments at the high level is highly political and one hand washes the other there.

No the 7-1 beating of Brazil, it actually demonstrates the point that soccer is won on the field, simply because you put on a yellow jersey and play for Brazil does not make you elite.

So my solution is more open competitions, or a mandate that you at least have to play in the State Cup or NJ Cup process if you are a US Club or USYS team. Make it a mandate. and while you are at it, do not separate out the groups. Stagger the groups so the lower rated Cup winners get invited to the upper level Cup tournament. At least then you have one opportunity a year where every one competes in an open competition. Right now, a US Club team has no ability to prove they are better than an ECNL club, this would allow for it, like the FA Cup or Copa Del Rey.

I have no issue with your suggestion, but I think that NCAA rules would prohibit alignment with clubs.

Anonymous said...

I'm digging this last flurry of discussion.

In my mind it is clear that what is best for U.S. SOCCER and dU.S. Soccer development is and OPEN system like many have described above.

That IS NOT what you have here in the U.S.
If you don't know this you don't know anything.

"No the 7-1 beating of Brazil, it actually demonstrates the point that soccer is won on the field, simply because you put on a yellow jersey and play for Brazil does not make you elite. "

--------> exactly right.
And in the same way just because you play in "EIEIO" league does not make you an elite team.

I have personally watched a few ECNL matches (various age group). It is the same mixed bag that you find in most leagues. Some teams very capable of playing THE GAME, others capable but unwilling and those that are simply incapable of playing THE GAME.

I know of at least 3 teams, in the current U14G bracket that were not accepted into this past Spring's PDA tournament because of, and in order, 1) out-of-state clubs were bringing more teams in many age brackets and only came as a "take us all or take none of us" package, 2) Got Soccer point rankings. The same crap PDA parents complain about (Gunner are really #1 and who cares about Got Soccer Points)...well your own club used this as a deciding measurement. FACT

OK, so perhaps taking the out-of-state Club teams made for a better tournament financially speaking but at least 2 of the 3 town teams I know of shut out were quite capable of making waves and playing at or near the best of the competition.

NO DOUBT so many other clubs and their tournaments are guilty of the same. This mentality is widespread and very common. There is no governing body to prevent this. These 'top' clubs market themselves as such and work things in such a way that the average 'mom and dad' simply cannot refute what they see or are being told.

The MORE you look into how some of the 'better' club teams do, head-to-head with some of the 'top' Academy teams you will see the results are quite event. OK, perhaps just in my limited scope of NJ soccer, but my guess is that this may hold elsewhere as well.

I've posted links in the past and wish I and more time today to post more but there is A LOT of great soccer minds in the U.S. soccer developing some great ideas as to how we can get to where we need to be as a Soccer nation. Some of the ideas shared above resemble some of the ideas/programs these folks are working on. We can only hope such reorganizations can take place. It's what's best for ALL of our sons and daughters.


Anonymous said...

I have one recommendation for US Soccer that won't address the Open/Closed system question but would improve US Soccer and is free. On off season times of year (now), on non-training days, or any time that is sensible, find local fields where parents drop their kids off and leave and no one over the age of 18 is allowed to even watch and the kids just play, and it wouldn't have to be with kids all from the same team.

It will be tough to compete globally and develop great soccer players until kids just play to play. In my view, this is more critical that the small group training or 1-1 professional training people pay for or the additional speed and agility work people pay for.

Pick-up soccer is the answer to a lot the US's technical skills. It is the only place a player can practice, develop new skills, try new things without fear of reprisal, judgment, etc. Go ahead take a player on 1-1 with a new move you have been working on, you'll either impress your friends or take some friendly ribbing, but there will be no coach asking you to explain what you just did or a tense father staring his daughter down as if she just ruined her entire soccer career.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:59. This is a great idea & I wish it could be done. Only problem is...who would pay for it. Where I am there are insurance headaches. What if someone gets hurt, lawsuits, etc. The days of kids just playing in the park are long gone. I used to play dodgeball in school (unimaginable now)

Anonymous said...

3:52 - sorry a slight correction

Tier 1 = GotSoccer point junkies like ABGC Premiere in VA
Tier 2 = ECNL
Tier 3 = NPL
Tier 4 = PL
Tier 5 = Travel
Tier 6 = Rec.

Tier 1 is teams who just want to win as many national championships as possible (ECNL, NPL, Super Y, and USYS) even playing Super Y because you can get GotSoccer points for the finals.

Anonymous said...

Man have the times changed. I'm from the city and we would walk to the park and play or play on the corner (got expensive breaking to many windows). There was no insurance you got hurt you went to the doc, you had beef you danced. Now there is a lot of $$$ to be had. Change is a lot harder to make - unless you have the USSF put out a MUST DO, which they never will. They dropped the ball big time in my opinion with the NWSL. Should have just built on the WPSL ELite Division and make it an OPEN league as it is the girls get paid 6k if you are not a NT player or a big name.

Which is sad - we have youth soccer coaches making more money than MLS and NWSL players. Something wrong with that picture.

But it is what it is.

Have a good weekend All.

Anonymous said...


I agree wholeheartedly with what you are saying. It would be nice to see a bunch of U8 to U12 kids playing on a local field because they love the game. When I was a kid we played football, basketball and baseball everyday after school at the local park. In the summer we lived at the park. I don't see many "pick up" games in any sport with the exception of basketball. My personal opinion why we don't see more of this is because youth sports have become so competitive and specialized. Club this, club that, personal trainers, camps etc. Who has time for a pick up game... Plus at U14 and up is there really an offseason? High school has already started conditioning and lifting in the summer. Our club team practices all year (one time a week during HS season)and 3 times during ECNL season + games. When I was a kid we never practiced like this at such a young age. Maybe now kids are just so saturated with training they don't feel the need to play more in a park, they're just trying to catch their breath. That said and back to your point I don't believe soccer has completely crossed over into our culture like some of the other sports have. Still in the process.

Anonymous said...

You are probably right and it is a shame that kids specialize so young. It's a shame that kids have little chance to play and practice without fear of judgment from parents or coaches. My guess is that kids would prefer the schoolyard play to all the extra stuff they do outside of their club activities - private, training, agility training, etc.

The other thing is that on the men's side, the MLS plays what is considered 2nd tier soccer and on the women's side the NWSL is in a few cities, in my opinion it is poorly marketed and I don't think you can find it on TV. NBC pays $80ml a year for the BPL while networks pay a total of $30 million for the MLS. There is clearly a lot less interest in home grown soccer. Kids have few stars to emulate and look up to in soccer that are American players. So kids have a few global players that every one hears about and maybe a couple of women's players that most kids watch play only when their is an Olympics or World Cup. We get all ec

Anonymous said...

How many of you guys are watching and supporting the NWSL today on ESP (right now)?? Very good game (8 goals). Cascadia blows us (the east coast) away when it comes to soccer. A decent crowd with very good supporters in Portland, Seattle is the same way. What do we get for a Sky Blue game 1k, 2k if we're lucky? Yeah, it's easy to say MLS and NWSL have no marketing. They shouldn't need to, we have kids that love this game we should find it and support. I love MLS it's getting better I bought MSL live and would do the same if NWSL had one package. That's my way of supporting US Soccer. We support our daughter's club the best that we can and I try to talk soccer on this board. It's easy to point out what's wrong with a system much harder to fix or support when the quality isn't there yet.

At least our kids have soccer to watch on TV. The MLS is expanding to 24 teams, NASL should merge with USL Pro - but traffic is a big partner and they are in it for the money (last thing I read they (NASL) are going to add a Canadian division/league. We have many PDL, NPSL, WPSL, W-League teams that we can support but we don't (I'm not talking about the select few on this board that do).

So when I defend PDA/ECNL/NPL/US Club Soccer i do this because I see a chance for our sport to change the way things are done in our country.

I would love for ECNL u23 to be sanctioned by USSF as D3 on the Pyramid behind W-Legue and WPSL o even D4 if they make W-League D2 and WPSL D3. with some type of pro/rel Closed league or not. At least you can have local clubs join NPL build a brand and some success and then join ECNL and who know some day pro/rel between NWSL/W-League/WPSL & ECNL.

Yes a pipe dream. But I will never stop supporting soccer .

PS. Score is 6-3 does this mean NWSL is not elite because it has blow outs?

Anonymous said...

All sports need marketing, the networks constantly advertise what their upcoming NFL games are coming up. Until there is an embedded soccer culture, I do believe marketing and incentives are required get people interested. You may be unique, but I believe that kids like to play and compete, I don't sense a lot of kids are chomping at the bit to watch the next MSL or NWSL game. We keep thinking after the 1998 Women's Wold Cup, the Olympics, and the last Women's World Cup that interest levels would be sufficient, but how many incarnations of leagues have we been through?

I've put my suggestion out there, soccer shouldn't be Practice Monday's and Wednesday's games on the weekend and agility work Thursday. It needs to be schoolyard play, the kids need more US identifiable players to look up to. There are only a few identifiable stars for our kids and they are probably almost entirely national team players.

As a better strategy clubs need integrate the NWSL into what they do, pay them a few hundred dollars to help run a training and spend time with the kids. Many of these players in the NWSL make a lot of there money though camps and appearances. Let the kids feel a connection with these players, not just Alex Morgan or Tobin Heath or Hope Solo. Clubs should be taking busloads of kids to D-1 soccer matches and NWSL games.

Where I differ is that I see many of these clubs having 2 objectives 1) Winning and being seen as having a winning program 2) getting kids playing in college. Why because the record of performance will bring the next cluster of kids willing to pay for "professional" coaching at younger and younger ages. I don't know that clubs give much of a second thought to the broader state of US soccer.

Look at the breakdown of the current USWNT we have more players over 30+ maybe even 35+ than we have 25 year old players or younger (I think that it is 5 out of 26 players), as a recent example, compare that to the Men's German National team with 20 out of 33 players being under the age of 25, and I think the USMNT has 6 under aged 25. Does that mean that what our system was putting out 5, 10, 15 years ago is superior to what we are delivering today.

IMO, I think this is because 10-15 years ago, girls didn't have the same Academy pressures and the same grind that exists today and the girls that played 10-15 years ago played because the loved it nothing else.

Yes, I think the current system is bad and on the girls side where I know more, it will continue fall behind relative to the rest of the world. Why, because from about 12, our Academies grind girls into the ground mentally and physically and the current structure means that a vast majority of girls have limited opportunities to be seen and developed at the highest levels. The grind is true, and all data indicates that concussions, fractures and ligament tears are on the rise in female athletes and female soccer players.

Anonymous said...

Us Youth National Championship - Day 1 game LIVE tomorrow @ 2:00pm 7/22nd
Match Fit ECNL u18G team

Anonymous said...

1:38 I am going to agree and disagree with you on the marketing. If someone likes something they will find it. If MLS is trying to get fans that are not soccer fans well then yes they need to market better.

My daughter watches both becasue We talk about both. She knows more about the womens game than I do, she was happy it was on ESPN yesterday. We have gone through so many incarnations of the league becasue let's be real it's a womens sport. The culture needs to be changed but that's a debate for another day.

I agree with your comment " I don't know that clubs give much of a second thought to the broader state of US soccer" but if we had a pro/rel system of an open league they would becasue (1) can move them up the pyramid and also make them transfer money for developing their players. (2) I don't want to talk about College sports, we are the only country in the world where college sports is so huge and that is also becasue every sport in every country has some type of a pro/rel system which we don't all are pro leagues are closed leagues.

The breakdown of our USWNT is ODP's failure in my opinion. we have lost generations of women soccer players (don't get me started on thsi one). We just fired a coach becasue he wanted to get younger players involved and I agree with Germany is not alone. UEFA has made it a bigf deal to invest in the womens game.

I disagree with you about the academies, I think the ECNL will only help our National teams and will help even more if the USSF sanctions them as a DA. This will make a lot of people unhappy. But I'm looking at the big picture and I don't want us being left behind. SOme will say look at the success of the WNT and I will agree they won lot's of games when no one played outside of the states, we have a few teams that give us headaches now and that number will only grow.

The grind is true, and all data indicates that concussions, fractures and ligament tears are on the rise in female athletes and female soccer players and this is becasue the level of play. The same can be said obout Tommy John surgeries. The athletes are bigger and faster the games is played at a different level than it was and with that will come injuries. PS. More and more women are playing soccer.

I will say again.

D1 NWSL 4 regions of 16 teams (each team playing 30 games) The CHampions play in a Champions Cup the bottom 2 in each region get relegated to the W-League.

D2 W-League 4 regions of 16 teams (each team playing 30 games) The Champion and runner up in each region advance to the NWSL Lthe bottom 2 in each region get relegated to the W-League.

D3 WPSL 4 regions of 16 teams (each team playing 30 games) The Champion and runner up in each region advance to the W-League the bottom 2 in each region get relegated to the ECNL

D4 ECNL u23 - The Champion and runner advance to the WPSL

D5 ECNL (64 clubs) the top two clubs get promoted to the ECNL u23, the bottom 8 clubs get relegated to the NPL.

D6 NPL (unlimited) the top 8 clubs get promoted to the ECNL.

No COllege Drafts - player rights are purchased from the clubs. This will make sure clubs are developing talent as that is their way to make money. This should keep parent fees down.

just my opinion as a fan

Anonymous said...

I love the fact that we are actually talking about soccer and potential ways to improve it even if we disagree. On the injury front, I personally think that between the number of regular season games, state cups, tournaments, championships, high school kids are exposed to more opportunities for injuries.

We will not agree on the value of academies and the narrowing of the competition. I personally think that the dividing of kids at early ages into elite and non-elite is a going to hurt us and keeping it as essentially pay for play will especially with the cost of all the travel that seems to be increasing yearly will ultimately hurt US Soccer at the National level

You can also say that anyone can tryout for an "elite" team every year, but we all know that at these ages teams churn fewer and fewer girls and there are fewer spots for someone who may have decided to play "elite" and an early age.

I'm pessimistic about soccers the future of US soccer based on the Youth system. A lot of poor countries are competitive because any kid can play as long as they have a ball, in the US we have made a sport that anyone can play into a sport for the well-resourced. That kind of stratification of players can't be good.

Anonymous said...

4:45 I am also enjoying this talk - sorry to you guys that are not.

I don't argue about kids being exposed to more games, but imagine they played in the schoolyards they would be playing even more games. I think injuries will happen since more kids are playing and speed and level of the game has increased.

I don't view the academies of narrowing the field - look at them as more of the police - now you can call them what you want. They are trying to put standards to youth soccer and their member clubs have to meet those standards. Yes it's narrowing the field, but I don't think that's a bad thing. Like I said for every PA Strikers you have 10 hack clubs in it for just the money under the non-profit flag.

I don't see a problem with roster spots. If an academy invested 3 years of training in a player why would they kick that player to the curb for a player slightly better - I wouldn't would you? If the player was head and shoulders above, they take the player on and I bet they give the player being replaced an opportunity to try and win some playing minutes back instead of just kicking them out. Yeah some people can say they are doing it just for the money - but the player has the ball and they can fight for their spot back or they can leave instead of just being shown the door with no choice.

You forget about one thing when we talk about soccer in other countries. They use the game to get out of their situation. MLS and NWSL don't pay. I can guarantee you this if MLS or NWSL paid like the MLB, NFL or NBA we would be a powerhouse it's that simple. Our leagues would attract the best players and coaches which will only benefit our kids.

Just my 2 cents

Anonymous said...

Us youth soccer National Championship games LIVE via video stream

Anonymous said...

8:06 I don't agree with the police analogy because the people that are assessing the standards are people that run clubs with a vested interest. It Is the fox guarding the henhouse.

I have no doubt that you are right about that money is a key element in the US position in World soccer on the Men's side. I don't think that speaks to what I believe has been a regression of our game on the Women's side were money is equalized globally. You can at least argue that our top stars do better with endorsements than anywhere else in the world. Perhaps the world has caught up, but as I laid out in a previous post, for some time now, our National Team coaches have not selected much in the way of youth. I am very interested to see how we compete at the World Cup.

Regardless, having a system you determine who gets trained in soccer as a have-have not decision and continuing to get more so is not good for soccer development in our country.

On a separate point, I believe the NWSL is shortsighted in generating fan interest. For the second year in a row, the NWSL after allow access to all of their games free streaming on YouTube is now moving the playoffs to a premium channel. Last year it was to Fox Soccer and this year it is to ESPN2 which is not available on basic and many 2nd tier packages. This is a short-sighted quest for profit over generating fan interest.

Anonymous said...

While I am enjoying the posts and their content, this is a U14g blog and few posts actually about that. Find a thread for this kind of VERY interesting conversation perhaps and continue. Now, back to topic.....

Anonymous said...

The standards are the same as the USSF DA standards and it's only that because the USSF thinks for some crazy reason the Girl's side doesn't need a DA system and that ODP still works. I agree with you our game has declined on the WNT side. We get to see in a few weeks how the u21 Nt does up North, I was actually thinking of making a trip to see the girls play. Just need to see when the girls get to Montreal and then check to see if we have a club conflict.

I agree with what you say about soccer being a "status" sport to a degree. But that doesn't mean the clubs don't have quality training. I wish we had a solution for the fees, but that won't change any time soon if at all. In a country as big as ours with the player pool we have and the training we have - filling a roster of 24 should be easy. But I guess we like to over complicate things. Instead of having a true pyramid with the USSF being the top - we have many different branches all promising the same thing.

I don't believe having a pro/rel system in youth soccer is the way. While the kids play to win - and results are used to measure the team and the player's development to a degree. I still believe in a closed system with strict standards. The kids need to compete to make these teams or they are left out. There is nothing wrong with that philosophy, unfortunately for us so many people are making $$$$ change well we will never see it unless if it comes from the top and the USSF seems to care more about the MNT than the WNT as I said before it's a culture thing.

The tough macho guys, need to accept that it's okay to be a fan of SKY Blue or any other Womens team in addition to their EPL, Seria A, MLS or any other league until that happens our girls will have a big hill to climb.

MLS is growing at a nice pace - most home games avg around 16k, Seattle is over 30k and they have the Mariners and Seahawks to compete with.

NWSL is the only league to allow free access to their regular season games and it still doesn't generate fan interest. Because lets be real it's a GIRLS league and well it's not cool to support a GIRLS league is it? The answer to that question is very simple.

The tickets are cheap, the games are streamed on you tube and still no one goes. How do you expect the league to pay their players? Not the NT player's that the US, Mexico and Canada pays. 6k that's what a player is paid. These girls should get support for following their dreams when everyone is saying to them it's a waste of time.

We have how many girls that play "Club" soccer in NJ? and yet the NWSL get's no support in NJ, what does that say?

Anonymous said...

It's the end of July, most Championships and tournaments are over with the exception of USYS which has 1 NE/Mid-Atlantic team playing. Kids are going into HS and there won't be any meaningful play for another 4 months.

The summer transfer window has been quite slow in the U-14 age group, so what's wrong a conversation about soccer.

Anonymous said...

10:06 this is my point about why soccer in our country will always fail. This is a u14 blog and has everything to do with soccer and what we are talking about.

So in a few days it becomes a u15 board, followed by u16 and u17 and u18 then what? Soccer isn't important anymore right?

If your kid loves the game, feed that love.

I will stop with these posts, since it bores most of the posters.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind the posts about soccer but the social commentary about the "haves" and the have nots" has very little to do with anything other than being upset your a "have not". Frankly the teams I see play (I would assume you would call them the "haves") are great teams with hard working dedicated young girls giving it everything they have. Not only that, but they are the best players around; period. I can pick any sport and say someone did not get a fair shot so what's your point? Take a look at women's World Cup, clearly the US is doing something right.

Anonymous said...

OK U-14 topic, any thoughts on the NPL College Showcase in Florida. Are they serious? The currently committed clubs are all Northeast and are mainly the distant sisters of ECNL Clubs, some that are not even strong in the ECNL. Alberston, East Meadow, CFC, FC Bucks, Penn Fusion. Match Fit, Boston Breakers, FC Bucks and Penn Fusion were a respective 11 and 38 in their NPL league.

And they are running this the same week as Disney? Where do you think coaches will go.

For all of this talk of what is good for US Soccer. if not for world domination what good can come from US Club Soccer directly competing with Disney an hour away and potentially dividing coaches. Why not stagger with Disney so coaches can attend both. Why because that would be good for kids but not for US Club.

Anonymous said...

10:58 No I grudgingly pay over $2500 for my kid to play at the highest levels. That does not mean that I have to like it. They are not the best players around, you must be from PDA because no one can deny that PDA is the best in the region beyond that, I think you have to look to Mass to find another best kids around type of club. Between NY to PA you can name a bunch of clubs ECNL and NPL that consistently lose to town clubs and lower level "academies." The fact is that US Club Soccer is trying to divide players. I am part of the problem because I pay, but I don't thinks it's good.

Cost and allure of being seen by college coaches. If you are from PDA, you have undoubtedly played the Match Fit, Albertson, and East meadow ECNL teams.

Anonymous said...


Frankly the teams I see play (I would assume you would call them the "have nots" and "have somes") are great teams with hard working dedicated young girls giving it everything they have. Not only that, but they include talented, skilled, dedicated players....some of the best players around.

Enjoy your high quality experience...your child is fortunate that you can provide it for her.

I will challenge your statement that your team has the best players, period.

That seem unlikely when most players in NJ and anywhere else are not in a position to pay and play for PDA type, very costly, albeit very high quality clubs.

Anonymous said...

10:58 Aside from quoting yourself on this blog, please post a reference from someone who actually argues that pay-to-play good for US soccer. It is good for you because it narrows the field that your daughter has to compete against. If your are interested, I can post 20-30 articles on the detriment of pay-to-play in youth soccer.

On the Men's side, we know that US Soccer is trying tomove away from a pay-to-play model and some clubs are starting to follow-this model, yet you want to argue that pay-to-play is good. Is your argument simpy that I must be a have-not?

Please provide your argument as to why pay-to-play is good for soccer and is inclusive to ensure that the best players and athletes are encouraged to play soccer through a pay-to-play model.

I assume you would argue the general exclusion of Latinos from US Youth Soccer is a good thing. You really just have to look to the MLS Academies to see that that with the rise of no-cost academies also saw large rise in Latino population.

Of course, none of that is important to you because the pay-to-play system protects your daughter's situation.

Anonymous said...

There is little money to be made in women's soccer. Where is the incentive to identify and develop all talented players? The incentive is to identify and develop great players that can finance their own development. Who can afford to look for and develop top players for free or low cost?

In men's soccer, truly top level players can potentially earn income for themselves and many others around them.

Anonymous said...

The WNBA is a good model for Women's soccer. No there currently is no money, maybe that is because us Soccer does not have broad appeal. Very few identifiable black or Latino stars. The WNBA while not perfect gets and average attendance of 8,000 people and the average salary is $55K a year. Not great but also not the NWSL. Perhaps part of the problem is that soccer is a mostly white suburban sport. It currently is not inclusive.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious 4:17 or anyone else crying about the money, no one mentioned anything about the success the US women have had at world cup? I will take that success as a clue we are doing something right.

I don't view it as pay for play, I view it as pay for training. Anyone complaining about $2500 for a full year of training, tournaments doesn't understand inflation or what anyones time is worth, or do I dare mention what it cost to obtain good fields. Plus ECNL travel is the big cost not the club fees in my opinion. It is well documented on this blog that overall training (practices) cost roughly the same, whether its ECNL or town team. What is different is frequency and or sum total. If your DC Shore and one practice a week and a long offseason is your thing, well great there is a place for you and the cost reflects that. There are plenty of people on our team that bitch about the cost, including me, but they make sacrifices because it's important to their daughter. Maybe it means you don't take a vacation or maybe you don't travel with your daughter to tournaments, but they make it happen. I choose to celebrate the U8 to U18 girls I see busting it 3-4 times a week, sacrificing their social life, their bodies, their time to become the best players they can possible be, instead of wondering about things I have no control over. Frankly what I see as the problem has nothing to do with money but more to do with dedication and willingness to work hard and make sacrifices. That to me is the great (filter) of soccer not money. Tell a young girl what it will take to be a really good (if your lucky great) soccer player and most will say hell no. I choose to have a life that doesn't require me to eat sleep soccer 24/7. I'm of the belief that any kid can play REC for chump change and have a blast. If you fall in love with the sport - well it's up to you to pursue the sport not the sport to pursue you.

In closing I will say that you could be 100% right, that money in soccer is a horrible thing. I certainly am not an expert, but I do deal in reality and not what ifs'. I see the best players moving to ECNL and I see what it cost. Fortunately my daughter is talented enough to have choices. She can choose or not whether to participate. It's my job to make it happen for her (if I can) and if she really wants it. So unless a giant soccer fairy shows up in the next 2-3 weeks and clicks his heels and mandates free soccer for everyone, I need to get back to work so I can pay for another year of expensive, time consuming soccer...

Oh and 4:17 my family is "American" but we are of Guatemalan decent, but nice try with the race card. It usually falls to that when you have nothing else to say.

Anonymous said...

I have a question - I think we all will agree the girls of today have a better chance to develop their game than the girls of ten years ago.

Do you think we will ever see girls that are dual citizens and can become a dual citizen opt to play for another NT just to play at the highest level in Soccer. The international game is the top of the Pyramid, kind of like how boys do with Baseball?

5:16 I agree with you about the WNBA - I guess the NWSL could have gone the WMLS way - would that have been better? Not sure but at least the girls would play in soccer stadiums instead of College Soccer stadiums (not all). I get it they went the USSF way to make sure the league is around for more than 3 years.

Our girls are moving to u15 and some can actually start playing for WPSL and or W-League teams in another year or two with College kids.

The good thing out of all of this - is that there are many options (IS it really a good thing?) for our kids to play.

A. Academy Team 100%
B. 2nd Tier Academy/High School/ODP
C. Town Team/Select Team/High School/ODP
D. Town team /High School/ODP
E. Boys Town team/High School/ODP
F. I'm sure I'm missing a few.

1. College
2. WNT USA or Other
4. W-League/WPSL

"Almost every European country (including Russia) has a women’s professional soccer league. Some pay a very small amount of salary and other leagues like Germany and Russia pay very good salaries. All, however, provide free housing and meals and, sometimes, even cars. Each European country and their top league are given slots for either one or two of their top teams to participate in the UEFA Women’s Champions league."

"Top women soccer players can make a lot more than that playing in Europe. Megan Rapinoe makes $14,000 a month playing for Lyon in France."

There is money in Soccer just not in the USA.

Anonymous said...

The Girls have had 6 World Cups, We won 2 the last one our girls won was 15 years ago in 1999 and the first was 1991. We have much better success at the Olympics. But as you can see from the below numbers we have had success because we have a huge player pool. Germany has won 2 of the last 3 World Cups, Europe is investing in the Womens game. There is a future for our girls that truly love this game and are willing to sacrifice their free time to work at becoming a top player. Live the dream girls because us parents will find a way for it to work.

Some stats from 2006.

1 US Soccer Federation (USA) 1,670
2 Deutscher Fussball-Bund (GER) 871
3 The Canadian Soccer Association (CAN) 495
4 Svenska Fotbollförbundet (SWE) 136
5 Football Federation Australia Limited (AUS) 112
6 Norges Fotballforbund (NOR) 98
7 The Football Association (ENG) 97
8 Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond (NED) 84
9 Dansk Boldspil-Union (DEN) 56
10 Fédération Française de Football (FRA) 49

FEMALE YOUTH (in 1000s)
1 US Soccer Federation (USA) 1,563
2 The Canadian Soccer Association (CAN) 407
3 Deutscher Fussball-Bund (GER) 237
4 Svenska Fotbollförbundet (SWE) 107
5 Football Federation Australia Limited (AUS) 84
6 Norges Fotballforbund (NOR) 83
7 The Football Association (ENG) 70
8 Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond (NED) 43
9 Dansk Boldspil-Union (DEN) 42
10 Fédération Française de Football (FRA) 28

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Why delete a link to a Bloomberg article about the low levels of Latino participation in youth soccer in this county? I thought it was one of the more interesting links I have seen posted here.

Anonymous said...

What are the levels of (girls / women) youth participation in South American countries, Central American countries and Mexico? I'm curious. The only country that has had a whiff of success is Brazil and they only had a runner up and third place.

Why is that the men do very well? Is it economics, cultural, or just small player pool size?

Anonymous said...

We know in the US its economics and availability because youth soccer is a suburban sport. I am guessing the last post was deleted for how I made that point although it was entirely factual. Life isn't fair and that is life, we have created a market based youth soccer system. But I think the system will mean IMO that we will continue to lose competitiveness at the global level because we are narrowing the player pool very early. At least on the men's side US Soccer has recognized this an are pushing to remove pay to play which is the term they use.

Anonymous said...

My post was removed exactly why?
Who is the moderator?


Anonymous said...

Somebody with an OBVIOUS interest in seeing things remain the way they are is deleting posts. Or someone (perhaps a parent of someone on a named academy team). VERY ODD that my post would have been removed otherwise.

Shame, shame, shame.


Anonymous said...

We will see how long this post remains up, but my post was essentially removed for saying that Latinos and blacks were under-represented in youth soccer relative to the population. I also referred to youth soccer as a mostly white suburban sport.

We have created structural barriers that I think discourages kids from playing soccer. That is why I believe that we will continue to struggle at the national level.

Anonymous said...

DC - I'll take a different approach.

In the states - we haven't had a successful soccer league in a very long time and you couldn't find soccer on TV unless you had Fox sports and watched the same game a million times.

That has changed, the MLS while not a top league - it is number 7 in the world when it comes to attendance. We are starting to bring quality players (older - yes) but still quality. We need to start bringing in some top coaches from around the world also to take MLS to the next level. Also, with EPL, La Liga and Seria A games on TV in addition to all the Champions, Europa and Cop Lib plus Concacaf Games you are starting to see a lot more soccer on TV and as the league starts to pay more you will see more kids picking soccer over other sports.

Now the Girl's game is another story. A lot has to do with cultural background. For those that have traveled you know what I'm talking about for those that have never left the states - it's a different world outside our borders when it comes to crooks, racists and a women's role. In the Soccer nations of the world Women just don't play and they were looked at a little different if they did. That also has started to change.

I think we are a young soccer nation and there is no way we can build a global powerhouse in 20 years. We might need another 10 to 20 years to be legit. If we want to be a soccer powerhouse we will be we have the resources we are just not committed to the game like we are the other sports.

Anonymous said...

2015 we will have the 100th Copa America in the states and who knows maybe 2022 will be here as well instead of Qatar.

Soccer is growing as a sport in our nation - we have everything in place to make the NWSL the GLOBAL league - we just have to support the game which we don't 1k at a game is sad .

Anonymous said...

Deleting posts will make the issue magically disappear I suppose.

I don't think there needs to be too much concern about things staying the way they are. It is a market driven sport and that is the American way. I don't necessarily object to it either..if someone puts out an expensive quality product and customers want to buy it, you have got a successful business...not an easy feat.

I object to the idea the best quality club translates automatically into having all the "best quality" players. They will likely have the best players that can afford it..and that is not the same as having the best players,

Anonymous said...

AVG Attendance
Portland Thorns FC 13,320
FC Kansas City 4,626
Western New York Flash 4,485
Washington Spirit 3,620
Boston Breakers 2,427
Seattle Reign FC 2,306
Chicago Red Stars 1,711
Sky Blue FC 1,664

NWSL 4,270

Anonymous said...

1:45 I don't buy your objection.

If you have a prodigy kid that has dreams of playing at the highest levels parents will find a way to make it work.

Keep in mind - let's say your kid was WNT material - you will drive and you will pay what ever it takes to get her what you believe she needs to play against other kids at the same level 2/3 times a week plus games.


Anonymous said...

One last thing on NJ soccer - 1.6k is sad. There are so many clubs charging an arm and a leg for kids to play and yet no one is supporting the only shot they have to make a future in the sport.

Oh yeah, because College Scholarship is the end game. My bad.

Anonymous said...

Of all the posts above, it's worth noting that the first real spike in US soccer enrollment occurred in the 1990s after the World CUp and we haven't seen large increases in soccer enrollment since 2000. The current system is great for the Suburban kid who has talent and wants to seek better clubs and better training, it doesn't change the fact that we have structural barriers to broadening the player pool. The choice that US Soccer has made on the men's side is to push for development academies to be no-cost. It is happening and we have seen a rise in latino enrollment at DAs, if that is playing a race card, so be it, but it is also fact. Making soccer at the highest levels as sport of privilege will be a barrier to continued soccer success at the highest international levels..

Nearly 87,000 came out to see the LA Galaxy/Man U game yesterday. A California newspaper wrote, "The majority of fans in attendance came dressed in No. 14 jersey for Mexican Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. Hernandez, who joined the tour Tuesday, didn’t see any action.

I see it as a massive problem for US Soccer at the highest levels if we can't tap into the full US Youth Population for our player pool. Clearly there is a lot of Latino interest in the sport.

Anonymous said...

Do you believe that all the best players play for expensive club teams? It is unwise, unaffordable proposition for many families even if their children have the ability.

I am sure these clubs will have the best teams. Solid training and coaching, deep rosters of talented players. they will win the games, leagues and championships.

There are very talented individual players playing on less expensive teams. They find ways to challenge themselves. They play up a year or two to try to ramp of the pace and skill level of the game. They attend additional practices with older age groups. They practice on their own and with friends.

Nothing wrong with it..we are talking about youth sports here not the world cup. I think many families at top clubs realize and appreciate their privilege and the exclusive nature of their player pool. Some do not and have spout out "our club has the best players period", thinking all great players would of course play there if they were good enough.

I am not talking about National team players...they are a tiny handful of players and very few clubs in NJ or anywhere else will ever have one.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't think the LA Galaxy game is a great sign shortly after the World Cup with the fans dressed in man United red and a lot of Mexican Jerseys and a lot of Chicharito Numbers. Not much La Galaxy Representation. The 7-0 result is also not a great sign, but I guess the Man U players all have something to prove for their new Manager.

Anonymous said...

i have a older daughter that plays after talking to College coaches at major events that could care less about what tournaments you have played or what leagues you have played in if you can play they want you bottom line .

Anonymous said...

3:05 I agree with you, but what happens if a coach gets contacted by 50 kids and only needs 3 spots - he has to put the kids an order, he may not see all of them and some may not even get a legit look?

What do you think decides that order? Did they do ODP? Were they a PDP or id2 pool player?, What Club they play for? I'm sure they can all play but chances are the coach won't see all 50.

I hate saying it but the first player he looks at isn't going to be random?

Anonymous said...

First, I would like to applaud the topic selection of the posts here lately, bravo! I feel that one aspect of the race/money issue has been missed. If a player from a small team (possibly inner city) has a talented player, likely that player will be seen by a bigger club and be offered a spot on the bigger club. I think often they give scholarships to players that can;'t afford it. There is a good documentary on a youth team in inner city Philly on netflix right now. I forgot the name but recommend everyone watch it.

Anonymous said...

I agree me and the little one enjoyed it

Anonymous said...

Congrats to NEFC today, their U14 girls beat Legends 2-0 in OT to win Nationals. Way to represent Region 1.

Anonymous said...

Boycott quatar world cup 2022

Anonymous said...

6:03 Forget 2022 - how about 2018 - unless things change Russia is not looking very good when it comes to public relations these days.

2015 - Copa America

2018 - World Cup.

Now wouldn't that be great, to have both those on our turf.

Anonymous said...

Don't get your hopes up, FIFA is not switching locations.

Anonymous said...

The only thing worse than Russia's Public Relations is FIFA's PR. I don't think they care, the voting committee received their bribes, so all is good.

Anonymous said...

1:23 so you do know how it works.

All it takes is the UN placing an embargo on Russia and FIFA has to follow.

This happened when Yugoslavia started their break up. Serbia backed the Serbian Nationals in other states and Bam they were isolated from the world. Russia will be a little tricky since love them or hate them they are a super power that can push back.

I still think playing the World Cup in Winter will never fly. But only time will tell.

Anonymous said...

6:12 I do know how a UN embargo would work and will never happen against Russia. Russia is one of 5 Permanent Members of the UN Security Council and any one of those members can veto a UN resolution regardless of how much the World wants it. China is also a member of the security council and would likely block any sanctions against Russia because of the energy demands in China and Russia being a major energy supplier to China. France is also a member of the security council and also has important trading relations with Russia which would likely mean that they would at least abstain from and sanctions agains Russia.

The civics lesson aside, it is very unlikely that FIFA would get involved in disputes and take a position, that becomes a very tricky game. FIFA just this weekend said stated its opposition to moving the World Cup from Russia. Once they go down this path it becomes a tricky path when other countries do something that part or all of the world is opposed to. Qatar is a different situation because it was corruption that brought the Olympics to Qatar and everyone knows it, however, FIFA wants to conquer the world and getting Gulf money into FIFA and supporting global soccer is important priority for them. Every day that passes means that it becomes more difficult to pull the world cup because the amount of investment that goes into preparing. How does FIFA compensate a country that has built stadiums and resourced for the cup?

Time will tell, but I believe there still a small chance on Qatar because there is a strong case to be made based on corruption.. On Russia, there is a 0% chance. Pulling the world cup makes for good headlines in the US, England, and Germany there will be zero will for FIFA to take any action.

Anonymous said...

10:22 Good stuff - I want to continue with this but I think we would drift away for u14 soon to be u15 girls soccer.

Anonymous said...

That is why, as chairman of the Division I men’s coaches committee, he has joined forces with NCAA leaders, Major League Soccer officials and the U.S. Soccer Federation to radically change the landscape of the college game.

They have proposed turning Division I men’s soccer into a full academic-year sport, one that would kick off in mid-September and culminate in late-May. If approved by the NCAA, the new calendar would begin as early as 2016-17.

“We have to change the game and do it justice,” Cirovski said. “College soccer has been relevant, but it can become much more relevant. It is doing a good job; it can do a great job.”

This is great for soccer and player development, let's hope the girl' game has this look as well.

Anonymous said...

Why is PDA Shore Breakers a top 20 Gotsoccer team? Aren't they brand new?

Anonymous said...

They have mostly NJSA Bulldogs filling out their roster, so they came with points.

Anonymous said...

Interesting read. Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Nice article but Top Drawer Soccer is a shill for US Club Soccer.

Anonymous said...

Maybe, but facts are facts and there is no denying the impact that the league has had on girls' soccer in this country.

Anonymous said...

So PDA just went out and purchased a number 1 team.
They did not develop anything I don't get why the Bull dogs would do that apparently the didn't need PDA I don't get it

Anonymous said...

I get the attraction of a PDA or other ECNL club if you make the ECNL team because whether you like it or not, ECNL kids will get the exposure, I don't get the attraction of being on one of the lower level teams because the ECNL club will likely not promote from within because that would be happening much more, they will try to attract the best from outside of their club. Why not go to a club where your team for that age group is the club's number one focus? Whether PDA or anywhere, if you are looking at post club soccer, playing weak competition, low levels in tournaments, or local tournaments will not create any real enthusiasm by college coaches.

Anonymous said...

It is in PDA's best interest to develop both th ecnl and NPL.

Making the NPL players just as attractive to D! schools , ultimately means more money in PDA's pocket.

"follow the money"

So that b team at the older ages u15 and above will also be a priority in that it will keep the girls coming into the program. need proof, just look at the college s the older "B" team players will play at.

Anonymous said...

11:36 You really believe everything you read and are told by PDA. They are marketing to you. You might want to check whether PDA has listed the colleges the "B" team girls have been accepted to compared to the schools that girls committed to play soccer at. You keep convincing yourself!!

If you actually read the PDA News story on their website, the headline is "National Signing Day...." then on the list it says "Listed below are all the various colleges and universities that the entire PDA girls' teams will attend." Here's a simple piece of homework for you, ask the DOC if all of those girls committed to play soccer at those colleges, when you see a little dance you'll know. I'm certain that if you scratch the surface just a little bit the PDA sales job stinks.

You keep eating that line of horse manure that you are told.

I still believe the ECNL is a great opportunity for kids, beyond that it's like a Greyhound trying to catch the rabbit.

Anonymous said...

How can PDA make the NPL team more attractive to coached when the cannot compete at a high level? Will coaches simply show up because PdA is attached to the name?

Anonymous said...

@1130, that's what the coaches tell pride and athletica us and we will get college coaches to come.

Anonymous said...

Since we are talking about PDA -

I will list the NJ Clubs at the USYSA - 2014 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

u13G - none
u14G - none
u15G - none
u16G - none
u17G - none
u18G - (NJ) Match Fit Beat
u19G - none

I will list the NJ Clubs at the US Club National Cup XIII Finals (Super Group Only)

u13G - FC Copa Roma
u14G - Freehold Celtic
u15G - FC Copa Celeste
u16G - none
u17G - none

Okay not bad NJ had 4 teams from 3 clubs not PDA playing for a National Title two from FC Copa. Not bad.

PDA had 7 teams playing for a NATIONAL TITLE


You can play that A and B card all you want.

5 "A" teams playing for a National Title
2 "B" teams playing for a national title vs other CLub "A" teams.

Call it what you will - numbers speak for themselves, nop need for anyone to try and sell a thing.

Anonymous said...

You might want to add PDA U13G pre-ecnl to your US Club nationals list since they won NJ Cup in spring but did not attend nationals in Greensboro even though they qualified.

Anonymous said...

Soccer Plus from Ct. gets kicked out of ECNL for being non-competitive in all age groups, replaced by FSA.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone is arguing PDA at the ECNL level, but if you are going to use the NPL league in the Northeast as the barometer, that league at every age group is a joke. The U-15 NPL team is average at best. We all see the NPL for what it is, and today it is not a very good group of B teams of ECNL Clubs. In every NPL league, it was FC Stars and PDA and then a bunch of also rans. Talk to the teams playing in the NPL they know there is little competition. It's also a rigged system. You play in a poorly competitive league and then you play a tournament to in that league to see who goes to the finals. And as this is a U-14 blog, the PDA B team has struggled to find success losing to a town team in the NJ Cup and not getting out of a tournament with Mercer Magic, SAC Premier, and Hershey. The U-15 team outside of the poorly competitive NPL league, has struggled to find success as well. So today, posters are trying to justify how good the B program is quoting where PDA players are going to college rather than where they committed to play soccer and then by referencing the NPL League. If you can, do me a favor and check how those great PDA NPL teams did at the Jefferson Cup being placed in the lower brackets, and that will give you true insight into the B team competitiveness.

Anonymous said...

9:27 I think you are missing the point with the NE Girls NPL and all the other NPL leagues. Every game in this league is important as it used to determine a champion. That champions will advance and play other champions from 18 other leagues from across the country. To the NPL teams those league games are most important. They use Jefferson and those other events for quality warmups. They don't control where they are flighted. Are you saying a National event is a waste of time and that Jefferson cup is more important than a National title? These teams carry a deep roster and If I was the coach I would use these events as warmups and as an opportunity to give some of the girls on a roster some playing time to see what they have and how they do outside of training.

I'm with you on the playoffs to determine who goes to the finals. It should be a balanced schedule with the 1st place teams after all games being played crowned as the champion.

I think for your kid's team these events are important so she can add another medal to her case or be seen by a college scout. I would rather my kid battle every week with her team for playing time and then use that playing time to fight for a bid at a National event. I wouldn't care (although it would be nice) if they played in an event and lost. But that's just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

No, my point was that the person was bragging about making through the NPL league as a major accomplishment. The competition in the NPL this year in all age groups was fairly weak with maybe 2 competitive teams in every age group, so it is not surprising the PDA had 2 teams get to the finals. yet when those teams were pitched at the 3rd level of the Jefferson Cup, they were not highly competitive. I think the Jeff Cup is a better assessment of how good the PDA B teams are than a league with weak competition.

Anonymous said...

It also speaks to the problem with closed leagues. So you go to a final and teams that have rarely been competitive at high quality regional tournaments are now standouts because you make it to the NPL finals. The finals of what, have any of those teams at the NPL finals in and out of the Northeast been that competitive. Maybe 1 or 2, but you are fooling yourself if you think the NPL offers the best competition after the ECNL. To answer your question, I think I'd rather see kids playing week in and week out in competitive games than to play 10 poorly competitive games so I can go to "National Championship"

Anonymous said...

We'll said, 10:06. Northeast NPL is a huge step down from ECNL. Those parents are either delusional or just blind.

Anonymous said...

If you can not get into an ECNL team, then the best option is to get into a competitive NPL team. Some of them like COPA , NJ Rush and PDA, Matchift are competitive. I would stay away from the others since they only want your money.

EDP has some high level teams as well but i would stay away from the town teams since the parents run it and their child have to play 70+ minutes otherwise they complain to coach who is a paid coach by parents.
PDA has the best training even if its a B team

Anonymous said...

11:48 8 agreed with the majority of your post although there are a handful of great town programs that would match any of the clubs you mention. Your last point is questionable, the PDA NPL team is loaded with talent and has underachieved. They could be a dominant team, the reality of the development of that team hasn't matched the perception. Anyone one of the clubs you mention offer the same as the PDA NPL team, then it comes down to the importance of the 3 letters.

Anonymous said...

You are correct. Pride is loaded with talent. So what is the problem??? If I were a parent, I would be wondering. Is it lack of Moral, in-fighting, parents with blinders?

Regardless of the reasons, sorry to say, any of the above would come down to leadership. It is what it is. You may have been the best player in the world, does not mean you can be a leader, or a good coach.

Obviously, the girls and the parents are happy the way things are, so kudos for them. They are happy, the girls are playing at a decent level. Not everyone cares about college and college placement. Playing for those 3 letters is good enough, i guess. At this point where else would they play? None of them will go back to a town travel team, not for bragging rights, but because most of the town travel teams left in SJ at this age are just not good.

Anonymous said...

@109 there was one town team good enough to beat PDA. There are probably more but PDA stays in their safe little NPL bubble. Yes, I am sure the parents are thrilled with this set up.

Anonymous said...

People choice a club for a variety of reasons cost, proximity, not wanting to travel, etc. Thiat is wy it is funny when people criticize here an individual choice to choose a club. But most people choose a club to get good training and leadership. What is amazing is that people come on here and with blinders believe that the 3 letters means better training and leadership. The PDA B teams are a prime example of that. Sure you my not have the same talent on some of the other NJ clubs, but to think that PDA has better training because of their name is ridiculous. When you consitently lose to teams with less talent it comes down to leadership and training. I will take any of the bets that the PDA B team does not play in any NJ Cups in the Spring because it will keep exposing the little cacoon that they are living in.

Anonymous said...

Where does the PDA Atletica or PDA north NPL falls into all this. They do not seem to move up in the rankings even though they are also a PDA team. Where does everyone see this team in comparison with the other PDA team?

My child has played at the highest level and i should say that when we play PDA A B C team they seem to have great technical skills.

Anonymous said...

PDA has four teams in this age group

NPL South
PDA Shore- Where is this team playing?

Anonymous said...

My best guess

Region 1 Premier/National League?? - PDA SHORE BREAKERS

Anonymous said...

At PDA or any organization, it is truly is the coach, In general that determines the type of training one gets at PDA. The top coaches at PDA are the ECNL coaches.

And they all play in different styles and value different things in the players that they evaluate

Some of the coaches play a technical forward rockem sockem english style with a big forward and some play a more possession style, creating little triangles of support up and down the field.

They have a bunch young coaches that are good but are in the learning process.

For one stop shopping for the parent( who may not know what to look for) that wants a reasonable assurance that their kid is getting at least adequate training-PDA indeeds satisfy's this criteria.

But if you are a more knowledgeable parent and understand the differences in training then PDA in the early years of development, may not be the right place for your child. Unless of course you get one of the better coaches that they have to offer.

PDA parent not drinking the kool-aid but glad to be there.

Anonymous said...

How much development are you looking for at u15? By know the kids that want to play in college know all the basics. SO the only thing left in regards to development is to find a club that make them work all the the time, they must use what they have learned and learn to process the game quicker and faster every time they step on field (pitch) practice or games and the only place that can do that is these Academy type clubs. Yes, I know you will have a PA Strikers and those types of teams and I'm sure they are great for the kids on those teams.

AM I wrong?

Anonymous said...

Yes by U15, kid should be technically sound, however, technical ability can, and should continue to grow all of the time. Coaches may not work on it, but a kid wanting to perfect their touch, can always improve their ability by working with the ball on their own. It can continue through college. Any high level player will tell you so, if not, than why all of the Rutgers indoor sessions in the winter ? Teams breakdown with a poor first touch. Hell, i see poor touch in MLS.

How about the U11 - U14 years? My test would be that my player developed technically each year. Also her tactical understanding, and awareness of the game had better improved! Movement off the ball, anticipation, and yes, speed of play. Speed of play is huge, and there is a huge disparity in teams as well as leagues, and some people just don't understand that until they see some of the better teams pace.

Yes some NPL teams are as good, and, or, better than some ECNL teams, and because they can't gain admittance into the ECNL, do not always see that pace, which is a shame. You need to always be playing fast paced teams to improve, the Northeast NPL, did not provide that for these teams.

If your kid's development and growth stopped prior to u15, it stinks. It takes being honest with yourself to admit that there may have been very little growth, and that they are the same player that they were at U11 or U12 even though you paid big $$.

Honestly, what town team now would any of them want to go back to? Sadly, there are not many options in SJ, and that is one of the problems for those talented kids.

Anonymous said...

At U-15 you are looking for quite a bit of development, yes, kids must have a base, but the technical development as an individual and as a team continues. This is also an important age where kids start to really read the game or not, and learn to think as one unit not as individuals. The one on 3 stuff even for the exceptional kid won't work anymore. It's beaten up on this blog, but you compare the North and South teams at PDA and talent isn't what separates them. The Gunners team is exceptional as a team and all of the kids are on the same page and because of that, they can compete against anyone in the country.

Anonymous said...

The Business Development Academy, I'm sorry, PDA, will do just fine.

A fresh batch of talent has been recruited so the rest of the team can 'develop'. Or however they explain this to all of the parents that have been on the roster for years watching new players come in and being shown the red carpet.

Anything to keep the 3, I mean now 4 team bank accounts full of checks.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious 4:37, are the new players that are "shown the red carpet" better or worse than the players that have been there for years. Why bring in players that are worse? Inquiring minds want to know...

Anonymous said...

I hate to say this because i think it stinks, but, it seems like PDA Shore is the new B team. Sorry, Athletica and Pride. You could not produce as expected, and they went and converted one of the best non ECNL teams at this age division in NJ, to a PDA team. Take the points, add a few better players, and wullah, you have a top NPL team.

So now, who will be getting pulled up to gunners? All clubs want a strong "B" team to continue to attract very good players, that are technically unable or logistically unable to break into the ECNL lineup. What better way than to take an already established team? The coach recommends and goes, of course, the players follow.

Now, if some Pride players combined with some NJSA Bulldog players, that would be quite a team, but, again, logistically for the Pride players, who is going to travel to TR 2 or 3 x per week for a very similar ability and ranked team, when they can stay close to home?

If the top players on all of those 3 PDA teams decided to go to Matchfit? Matchfit would be a better ECNL team, but it won't happen because of those letters. I would rather my kid play on an ECNL team that could compete against and see the same type of competition as the Gunners, than play in the Northeast NPL, EDP or whatever other league is the league de jour.

But again other than Matchfit, there are not many options for other talented kids below exit 7. When there is, PDA seems to snatch them up under their club name. GENIUS.

Anonymous said...

You guys will never get it.

PDA is one it's a club. For every girl at this age u15 their goal should be to play ECNL. Guess what they can only roster a certain amount of girls so no matter how good you are you need to be better than the girls on ECNL team to play ECNL. They merged with Toms River an added a 4th team to their age groups. Do you really think they merged with Toms River for just this age group? Please say you don't because it read like you do.

The rest of the teams are Reserve teams - B teams if a player does good from any of the 4 and is better than any new player trying out they have a shot to take a spot from an ECNL player.

PDA and MF are like ODP they got NJ covered (this is how it should be). So instead of having NJ ODP at the top of the Pyramid you have two clubs PDA and MF fighting for the same type of players.

I don't get all this hate. These clubs don't care about the other clubs why should they. Their goal is to put the best collection of players they can on a team and make those players believe in team to further develop their skills and play for National Titles and spots on a College Roster.

Why parents from other clubs try to compare themselves to PDA and MF is beyond me. Have your club meet the standards ECNL and NPL want and apply if you want to be part of ECNL and NPL so bad. If not go he USYSA Region1/National League Avenue.

What PDA and MF are doing in NJ is great they are giving roster spots to the best players in NJ/NY/PA that believe what they are doing is the right thing and that ECNL is the right league for this type of development.

Just my 2 cents

Anonymous said...

Hi does anybody know for sure where AP who used to coach world class is landing . What club? Can anybody say for sure?

Anonymous said...

I have no problem qith PDA being a business or trying to make as much money as possible. The do this by attracting the best players. However, the way PDA sells itself, it is like McDonalds calling itself a health food restaurant. They attract people because of a name, and at every age group, not just U-15, these kids are pawns being used while they work to develop the NPL and ECNL. The competition at NPL and for a good part of the ECNL is pretty awful. And they are wholly unprepared when they face any real competition. I get that PDA has a long term-vision to see the ECNL and NPL to become the 2 best leagues in the country. Unfortunately the current crop of kids are not going to reap the benefits.

Anonymous said...

So if the competition at ecnl is bad as you say, where should these talented girls play to face tough competition in your learned opinion?

Anonymous said...

9:43 Where they should go was not the point of my post. US Club is in an active process of trying to build the NPL and ECNL and that process will take time if they are successful. There are many teams in this age group and there are many clubs that are by a long shot not Elite teams. PDA and FC Stars are the exception not the rule for Northeast ECNL. Parents are from those clubs are free to comment but the competion in those leagues has not been very good.

In direct answer to your question, I have no clue where individuals should decide to play, that's their choice. If you look at NJ, after the Gunners, there really is not any team that has really emerged as that much better than next, but even the Gunners have to play a lot of awful teams (some that lose to NPL and lower clubs in tournaments). IMO, driving 5 hours to play a 4-0 non-competitive game offers the kids little value.

You are blind if you think that PDA isn't aware that they are sacrificing competition today for their long term future which most of our kids will not be around to see. The PDA NPL team is the poster child for this as they play in their low-competitive bubble, and then can win outside of that bubble.

Anonymous said...

So NEFC? Won USYS nationals and is not in national league next year?

Anonymous said...

"there are not many options for other talented kids below exit 7"

Such crazy talk.

I watched 3 PDA matches (various ages groups) within the last month. YES some teams, strong athletes and some skilled players. NO, not even close to Elite and remarkably a tremendous amount of joy-sticking from the coaches which should be verboten in such a program.

My guess is that the teams I watched (I will not name), may beat a team 4-0 but it will not be because they are greatly skilled. THERE I said it. I actually saw one PDA team lose to a Summer Select group. That is laughable when you think about it and how they market themselves.

As far as my verdict on PDA, MF and the like. They are in it for themselves. Just like so many parents. So in that way it is all very fitting. Maybe the kids will be considered one day. I mean future Olympians and Pros. ;)


Anonymous said...

The competition in the ECNL is much stronger than people give it credit for at this age group. World Class, PDA, and STARS were obviously the best 3 but Penn Fusion and FC Bucks were also good teams. FC Bucks split with PDA last year and lost 2 close games to World Class. Penn Fusion beat STARS and Tied PDA. I think any team that has to play PDA , World Class, STARS, FC Bucks and Penn Fusion twice per year is in a strong league.

NEFC is a very good team but will lose players to ECNL for next year as it is hard to deny that exposure to college coaches will be better through the ECNL and they will be guaranteed games against the teams mentioned above.

Anonymous said...

1.37 NEFC is listing as a team for the National league

Anonymous said...

DC shore - You appear to know about (or be present at) every bad game that a PDA team has. Why is it laughable that a PDA team lost to a summer team? (in a scrimmage I presume). At every level of soccer from the World Cup to youth level tournaments there are upset results. I haven't heard PDA promise anyone that they will never lose to a lower level team. Has your daughter's team never lost to a so called weaker team? Was it laughable? It would be great if you could spend some time mentioning some of the good performances of PDA teams (and other local teams) instead of trying to be negative. You should try being a bit more objective about what PDA offers some players from a positive point of view. There are obviously negatives but I bet you if you mentioned what team your daughter plays on it would be easy to provide a few negatives. NJ soccer offers a level of play for all players. From ECNL to town teams. In sports it is easy to be negative about the most successful teams, you have taken this easy route with PDA.

Anonymous said...

You appear to only read/respond to the negative that is written about PDA. Including from me.

I was responding directly to the comments I quoted.

OF COURSE every team is capable of losing. Having faults, etc. That was exactly my point.The irony of your comments towards me is lost on you because you are too busy defending PDA.

To say there are no quality teams besides PDA and MF (or south of Exit 7) is crazy talk. BTW, can that quote be attributed to you?

And no, the PDA loss was during a tournament. Not that it really matters because every team there are a lot of matches that can go either way depending on circumstances.

They are not all blowouts like some like to portray it to be. Again, is that someone like you I quoted? or just another PDA parent?j

Which all leads to many of our points. Clubs/Academies are beginning to insulate themselves from competition because it is best for business. Not because they are bored with the competition. They fear it.


Anonymous said...

DC Shore - I did not make the statement about there being no good teams south of exit 7. I am not knowledgeable enough about all local teams south of 7 to make that comment. I comment on what I am knowledgeable about. I know about ECNL, some town teams and some rec level programs. I am not one to just defend PDA, my daughter doesn't play there. I so know the positives and negatives of PDA very well though.
The ECNL teams are not fearing the competition, many of the region 1 ECNL teams are still entering the more competitive tournaments. I agree that they are creating an environment that is closing out other programs, this is not b/c of fear it is because they want the focus to be on girls who are playing ECNL. A statement from a legitimate website indicates that 19 out of the 20 players on the u20 national team are from ECNL programs so what ever plan they have appears to be working.(Yes this is wrong). From the few posts I have read from you I am guessing your daughter plays for a non ECNL / NPL team.(There is nothing wrong with that)
Your points and/or arguments appear to be based on presumptions. To make it easier for you to respond - I am not a PDA parent. I did not make a statement about route being no other good teams south of exit 7. I also recently discovered this blog so do not know the history of your position. You will find from my posts that I am a pretty objective person who sees the positives of playing soccer at all levels. ECNL, NPL, Travel, rec is all fine with me. I see the positives and negatives in all leagues and levels. It appeared from your last comment that you are a PDA Hater! (How dare they try and monopolize youth soccer in NJ!!!!). As you are more knowledgeable on the local travel teams it would help if you supported your answers as well for non ECNL/NPL parents who are looking to play for a competitive team in that area. What teams can you suggest they look to play for if they have aspirations of college soccer? What tournaments / leagues will these teams play in that will generate high exposure to college coaches. This kind of input would be positive and productive thanks.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that all NEFC teams(along with most of the other strong clubs in Mass) will be playing exclusively in US Club Soccer leagues going forward. They are listed as an automatic qualifier for the National League next year, but my guess is they will not participate.

Anonymous said...

NEFC was an automatic qualifer, but they are not participating.

list of teams

Anonymous said...

4:13 PM

Being critical does not make one a hater. I can be and have been just as critical of other teams/programs/clubs. For whatever reason though, everyday club parents don't seem as determined to come on forums and talk about how great their teams are and how bad other teams are. Or probably more accurately, there is just not the same frequency.

"The ECNL teams are not fearing the competition" --->they are fearing the competition for players. The goal is to be one of the few options available to players looking to get to the 'next level'. They are doing what they can to monopolize the audience (college coaches), and monopolize on the players as in"you have to join us if you want to be seen by college coaches)".

"From the few posts I have read from you I am guessing your daughter plays for a non ECNL / NPL team."
---> this is true and I have been very clear about this. But none of this is about 'my daughter'. I am in close contact with several ECNL and NPL coaches. In truth, all good people with good-very good understandings of the game. Unfortunately far too many decisions are made so they can pay their mortgage and pad their resume's. I argue, even to them, their definition of success has to change. They tell me they can't afford to change the definition because parents will stop paying. You tell me (since you know PDA, and all of these teams, and leagues) are they right?

"As you are more knowledgeable on the local travel teams "
----> Am I? I may just be the only person willing to talk about what I see. Even at the local travel team level. I have only stated in the past their are diamonds out there. But it is up to the parents to look/research. I have always encouraged watching teams play. Watching the game they play. How the coaches behave/act. How the parents behave/act. How did the team respond after a win? Loss? Do they play jungle ball? or THE GAME?
I do not advocate FOR or AGAINST any team. I will give honest assessments when I can. When appropriate.

What teams can you suggest they look to play for if they have aspirations of college soccer?
----> if the goal is to 'play' college soccer. There are more possibilities than many of this board will admit. Or, more likely, they are not willing to do a little research and take the Academy marketing too much to heart. As I have previously stated, if it is 'D1 scholarship or bust'...well yeah then your options become slightly more limited for many of the reason you and others have mentioned but also because their is so much disinformation given to parents.

Two links that touch on these subjects and others I have previously mentioned:


(features a video from Div 1 coach John O'Sullivan...A MUST watch)

Sadly those who should read this article and watch this video and get something from it won't.

PLEASE watch the video.

Take me as a 'hater' if you must


Anonymous said...

They said parents will stop paying - that is the best one yet. If you or the people you haven't spoken to you yet Parents will never stop paying if they feel their kid has a future in the sport. SIMPLE.

So ECNL is closed. If all the best players go to ECNL how is it a bad thing? We have a league in place that will help the top players so instead of helping it we try to take it down.

Back in the days ODP was the rage, but they didn't train a lot together was the knock wish there was more training people said. Along comes ECNL a league for the Elite players (ODP Players) to put them all in the same place to make life easier for them and the college coaches. SO know its a closed league - no it's a league for the elite like ODP is for the elite. The problem DC my man is people are trying to compare their town teams to ODP teams and trying to talk their ODP type players from trying out for a team in the league that is more a problem than ECNL being a closed league.

We finally have a league for the elite players so instead of encouraging these players to all go play in the same place we have teams trying to hold on to them for personal gain and help get those results to keep the cash coming in.

Our Country needs a league for the Elite Soccer players the boys have DA the girls have nothing. SO US Club soccer is trying to provide that for the girls - but yet we hate and say they are closed. No disrespect but it should be closed. It's a league for players to join not teams.

Just my 2 cents

Anonymous said...

8:29 The problem with your post is that the ECNL is not for Elite players, it is for "Elite" clubs, and who selects what Elite Clubs get into the ECNL, the Elite Clubs themselves. Yes a Board with no independent representation or independent selection process. If you are in the ECNL then you know that there are quite a few teams and players who do not reach the level of Elite but play in the ECNL.

So if you live in NJ, you have 2 ECNL Choices 50 or so kid, on ECNL team has work out well the other is one that probably doesn't deserve the Elite title. I don't start to believe that the best 50 kids from NJ are on those 2 teams, yet in that closed system there the ECNL is essentially seeking to have no other place for thos kids after the top 50 to go to.

Everybody argues from their soccer experience but everytime this argument comes up on this board, people seem to ignore all of the arguments made by experts including the Coach of the Men's national team that two of the biggest risks to soccer development is the lack of a soccer pyramid and the pay-to-play system. SInce you mention the DAs on the men's side, they are moving to eliminate the pay-to-play system, why because they are affiliated with US Soccer and aligning goals.

Anonymous said...

DC Shore - You put a lot of thought into your response. Some of which I agree with, some of which I don't. There are a number of ECNL coaches who enjoy the salary that comes with coaching a team. The decisions they make from a player and team perspective do not relate to money.
Most coaches at the ECNL level could make a lot more money training teams in the area at an hourly rate than what they make in salary coaching a team. If you ask most of your ECNL coach contacts they will probably get the same salary if they have a roster of 16 or a roster of 22.
The majority of coaches I know who became involved with the ECNL love the game and want the players to reach their goals of playing college soccer. I do not think it is wrong for these coaches to be paid. They travel around the country and put a lot of time into what they do. Anyone who has coached at a competitive level can understand how much time is spent with "off the field" team management. (parents!! , tournament planning, etc).
Have you seen how many players PDA have at practice sessions and on the bench at games? They will never stop paying. If they feel they are being offered a good service and their daughter is happy they will pay!.
ECNL clubs have a goal of ensuring players move onto the college level. It is easy for this to happen as the best players are continually moving to ECNL programs. When I speak to parents with daughters on ECNL teams they love the ECNL. It is a high quality league that has standards for fileds , tournaments, amount of games players can play etc. Those in the ECNL love it! Those out the ECNL hate it!

ANyway, I get bored of the same old ECNL and PDA discussions. Here is a question on a slightly different topic: Are teams who are ranked at the top of the gotsoccer rankings playing too many games/tournaments? If so, is this high quantity of play placing players in danger of injury and burn out?

Anonymous said...

Here's a link to the ECNL Board of Directors, please tell mewhich repesentative on this board doesn't have a vested interested to protect the their clubs interests rather than to do what is best for Soccer.The Northeast Board Memebr is from FC Stars and PDA gets an At-Large Board seats. Thos are the people providing Northeast insight and representation into ECNL decsions. It is the fox guarding the hen house.

Anonymous said...

Pay to play - I don't think people want to ignore this issue, they just don't have a solution.
I would love for my daughter to receive great free coaching year around without me paying for it.

The problem with this is that it is unrealistic. Good coaches who plan, further educate themselves about the game, and spend a lot of time with what they do probably deserve pay. Are we asking that these coaches do it for free? If we agree they should get pay who should pay?

It is easy for Jurgen to say that pay to play is a problem (and it probably is) but what he didn't do was offer a solution as to how our youth players can receive quality coaching in quality playing surfaces without having to pay. Does anyone have a solution to this?

Also - I know many people on this blog will have a daughter entering high school ball. I wish you all an enjoyable injury free season! FIFA put out an ACL prevention slideshow that demonstrates a warm up and strengthening exercises that are said to reduce risk of ACL injury. I can't find the link but it can be found,

Moving forward - There are many issues with youth soccer in the area. $ , coaches, getting to the college level etc. More comments could be based on providing support and information to each other about good training experiences , team experiences etc. Who knows, maybe we could start to post without being anonymous.

Anonymous said...

9:38am - The ECNL board members are doing what's best for the ECNL. That's what they are supposed to do. They are not the savior of youth soccer nor do they have any responsibility to be. They are board members of the ECNL so their decisions are supposed to be based on what is best for the ECNL. The ECNL is just a league that allowed clubs to apply to be part of it. It does not control soccer, it has produced a good product. College coaches are not dragged to games, they can choose to go and watch players from any league. It was a gamble for some clubs to join the original ECNL. Many of the bigger local clubs didn't apply as they didn't want to give up any control to the ECNL. (Yes , your non ECNL clubs have control freak board members on them too!!) And guess what - the board members of your clubs do what is best for YOUR club, not what is best for soccer as a whole because that is their job.

Anonymous said...

There is a difference between a board of a club and a board of a league. People tend talk about the DAs on the boys side when it suits them and ignore it when they don't. But the DAs have a strong alignment with US Soccer, and yes many DAs have figured out how to offer their programs with no fees and those clubs are not aligned with MLS Clubs.

10:07 The arguments tend to change supporting the ECNL argument depending the the argument at the time. On the one hand we've heard that the ECNL puts the Elite kids together to develop kids that are in the best interests of soccer on the other hand, we've heard that the ECNL is self-serving organization that has no obligation to anything but what is in their best interest.

Anonymous said...

10:34 - These clubs and DA's who have found a way to offer the program for free, how are they doing it? I am presuming that there are paid staff at these clubs. Money has to come from somewhere. Play for free sounds great. I want a good coach to coach my daughter 3 times a week for free also. I want her to play in games for free also. We all want a good service for free. I would also like my lawn service for free. The money from the top down is not available in girls/womens soccer. Trying to align the girls development setup to the boys is not viable. If pay to play can be implemented into girls soccer without reducing quality of play and conditions I am all for it. I hear people complain about pay to play all of the time, yet no one comes up with a solution.

Anonymous said...

9:29 Who cares which clubs are in ECNl besides the people at the club. As a parent of a soccer prodigy all that you ask is that there is a league where all the best kids can play against each other in. All you can do is if a league that promotes itself as is do your part - bring your kid and hope that every other parent with a prodigy does the same so they can train together and play against each other - regardless of what the club's name or brand is.

In your example for NJ it would be the best 50 if they all went there to play against the best 50 from other states - can't get better than that. But to your point it's not the best 50. The league is in place for the prodigy kids to play in - why they don't - just read this board and you'll see many posts about closed leagues - pay to play - and everything else wrong with US soccer. The league is there more and more prodigy kids are moving to these clubs and as it should be for these kids - not every kid the prodigy kids. The kids that can play D1 and beyond.

9:35 I agree - When you play 20 league games over the course of a season plus 5 events at 3 games an event that's 35 games. US Soccer Fed said 3:1 ratio practice to games is good. So if you practice twice per week x 52 = 104 practices right on pace with 35. Anything more is overkill and against what the US Soccer federation is saying they want.

9;38 I agree with 10:07 the board members of the ECNL are going to be club members to do what's in the best interest of the league

9:56 There are ways to do this we just haven't seen it yet but I think we will in a few years. And it think the NPL ECNL relationship is the key. Clubs should offer a Free ride to their ECNL teams for players being promoted through their system. Parents pay for the NPL participation (regardless of league) - but when your kid gets an invite to ECNL roster then they play for free is just one way.

11;21 I hate to say this but you need to add more teams or charge a little more for the non DA teams.

Just my 2 cents

Anonymous said...

My situation expresses why I dislike what US Club Soccer is doing and PDA as an important driver of their actions. I think the quest monopolize girls in US Club Soccer is bad for girls and girls development. My daughter played for an ECNL team and ranged from player 16-22 on the team. She wanted to play more and will be moving to and decent academy program in the Fall. The idea of separating into an ECNL is fine and having an elite league is fine. I understand why it is not fair and that's fine, my kid felt she was better and left. Her club is signed up to go to Disney. This is historically a decent showcase especially for kids who are not Elite and do not get the exposure this process affords. So US Club Soccer with PDA at the helm and being held at PDA fields in Florida are holding an NPL College showcase in direct competition with Disney. So you come to the accept that a coach doesn't believe your daughter is ECNL stating quality and you look for other opportunities soccer affords. You can call it what you want, this is out and out predatory trying to not only create an Elite level but now also at the next level down trying to monopolize play. If you truly are in it for the soccer, to create a competition for college coaches time is ridiculous and I for one hope it fails. What is the purpose, if you at all believe that soccer should afford development at levels and there is no useful purpose to head on put a competitive college showcase if not to try to force kids into your world.

Anonymous said...

I have an honest question, slightly off the current topic...I assume D3 schools do not give scholarships for soccer. But I see D3 coaches on the list of coaches attending at many of the mid size to bigger tournaments. Are they there to recruit? How can they recruit over D1 and D2 schools who can offer full/partial scholarships?

Anonymous said...

"The problem with your post is that the ECNL is not for Elite players, it is for "Elite" clubs, and who selects what Elite Clubs get into the ECNL, the Elite Clubs themselves. "


"Everybody argues from their soccer experience but everytime this argument comes up on this board, people seem to ignore all of the arguments made by experts including the Coach of the Men's national team that two of the biggest risks to soccer development is the lack of a soccer pyramid and the pay-to-play system."

------> BINGO again! But just like my video. Those that 'should' get something out of what these experts are saying will not. Either too self-consumed and unwilling and/or motivated by the $'s.

For all of those that have contended no alternate solutions are being offered you REALLY are not doing any research. Sorry. Especially with the one post questioning Klinsmann and his inability to offer a solution. Do I really need to research and post all the links in which Klinsmann talks about the problems with U.S. soccer culture and what we need to do to get away from it.

But I'll make it simply for everyone. #1 it starts focus on development and NOT winning until the players are 15, 16 and 17. EVERY expert will tell you that.

Lastly just take a look at both of our National teams. How is all of this working out for us?
As exciting as the World Cup was any real 'expert' will tell you that the U.S. is lagging FAR behind the World.


Anonymous said...


"Are teams who are ranked at the top of the gotsoccer rankings playing too many games/tournaments? If so, is this high quantity of play placing players in danger of injury and burn out?"

----> sometimes yes, sometimes know. Any expert will tell you that the US focus on games (read as results) is too much and that the training to game ratios in places in Europe are completely opposite of ours. But what do experts know.

I also find it ironic when those associated with Academies like to point out that the ranking do not mean much (because orbs like PDA tend teams play less tournaments but are a bit mores selective). Unfortunately PDA's own org looks at Got Soccer when determining which teams are accepted in their tournament. A MATTER OF SHERE FACT.

Got Soccer has simultaneously become a Tournament Director and Parents Dream come true, albeit for slightly different reasons. It has become the worse nightmare for Orgs/Coaches/Teams trying to focus on development and trying to keep the cost of soccer down.

That is why I respect any Tournament that puts more consideration into their team selections as opposed to just Got Soccer. That is why you sometimes get the opportunity to see a very skilled town team take on an Academy and you can begging to really judge who has what going on. That is why you sometimes see a team ranked in the 50's or 60's handle a 'top' ranked team if not defeat them. That is exciting stuff and GOOD for the sport. Just bad for some trying to make livings off youth sports.


Anonymous said...

1:12 Against what you might believe, more D2 and D3 coaches attend showcases than D1. D1 coaches especially the high level D1s are a lot more focused and know their. D3 whether with money or not still are active in recruiting and if they want a kid, then the school will work with you to try to achieve academic money. Frankly, I will try to guide my daugther to D3 if she wants to play soccer in college. It's probably her last 4 years of competitive soccer and if you think the club competition is bad, mix 4 age groups, a 30+ roster, and a full academic schedule and the challenges for a college student at D-1 is immense. My view is for college have fun playing soccer but not at the expense of the schooling.

Anonymous said...

Nobody ever wants to deal with the facts. The facts are on the Women's side that Germany as been the most dominant women's team in the last 10-15 years. The US technically outplayed by Japan. The USWNT currently has 3 women 25 or under on the starting team (I believe the USMNT has 5). The dominant US Mens team had over 50% of their roster, I think 18 aged 25 or younger. That has to be telling you something. The USWNT has an overweight of reliance on women 28-35. Our elite programs should be dilivering kids every year that can crack the USWNT roster. I happen to think there is a correlation with how our youth system is evolving. I hope the new USWNT coach brings in more youth to get International experience at the next world cup, but as of right now there has not been a lot of seeds planted.

Anonymous said...

Nobody ever wants to deal with the facts. The facts are on the Women's side that Germany as been the most dominant women's team in the last 10-15 years. The US technically outplayed by Japan. The USWNT currently has 3 women 25 or under on the starting team (I believe the USMNT has 5). The dominant US Mens team had over 50% of their roster, I think 18 aged 25 or younger. That has to be telling you something. The USWNT has an overweight of reliance on women 28-35. Our elite programs should be dilivering kids every year that can crack the USWNT roster. I happen to think there is a correlation with how our youth system is evolving. I hope the new USWNT coach brings in more youth to get International experience at the next world cup, but as of right now there has not been a lot of seeds planted.

Anonymous said...

"I hope the new USWNT coach brings in more youth to get International experience at the next world cup, but as of right now there has not been a lot of seeds planted."

--->yeah, well that progressive thinking got the last Women's coach sacked unfortunately. U.S. Soccer is pretty bad from top on down. Sad, but true.
Saddest part, so many pieces (people) involved know it. But again it is the $'s, resume's and in rarer cases egos getting in the way.

BTW, SO TRUE about the Olympic level play. The U.S. is holding on by a thread if you ask me. You only have to look at our professional league to see how bad it is. I don't care how many Olympians are playing not the team....Kick & Run is ugly by every standard and does not get you ANYWHERE on the world stage/standard.


Anonymous said...

For the ECNL lover and Elite soccer, what do you make of this?

Anonymous said...

I've got some time this afternoon so I'll pose another question that is close to my heart and involves town teams, bigger clubs and Academies equally.

That is the use of guest players.

I witnessed three (3) teams in the past 2 weeks utilize guest players (ringers) for tournament play. Besides showing how deficient Got Soccer is in accounting for this (unfairly awarding points to a team that is...well not a team) what is everyone's thoughts on guest play etiquette. Remarkably 2 of the 3 teams I saw, with confirmed guest players, actually started the guest players over their teams regular bench. Why? Development purposes? My guess is to achieve results.

Would any of you accept this? Have any of your players been victims? Benefitted from this?

Shame, Shame, Shame Coaches. Shame, Shame, Shame Clubs for allowing this. Shame, Shame, Shame U.S. Soccer.

And before the question is asked. Each team had rosters of 17 and 18 players respectively. It was not a matter of having enough players. Not even close.


Anonymous said...

I attended numerous Women's professional league games this past 2 years. The top players continue to be those in the 25-30 year range. Is it not possible that the maturity of a top player does not occur till a slightly older age? I think it speaks volumes regarding how poorly our women are prepared at the younger ages. Maybe college soccer is actually the reason for the slower maturity. ECNL and college may be a good match but the college years may actually be the culprit. The college game is not in the picture for most other countries.

Anonymous said...

Fair comment, it is a good point the the College game may be doing more harm than good for soccer development. On the Men's side, the NCAA is considering a Fall and Spring season. I just check the Japan women's team and the German Women's team, 13 and 11 players under 25.

Anonymous said...


College Soccer is wonderful for the social-interaction part (like in High School) but a quality development league for professional and national players it is not. Again, the focus is on results (winning) and not developing players.

ONLY in the U.S. do you see 8, 9, 10 - 16 year olds being written off as finished (developmentally speaking) and dropped from programs.


Anonymous said...

DC - Guest players is a great debate. My son's younger team uses them frequently, if they didn't they wouldn't have enough players for many tournaments. Some teams do use guest players to improve the quality of the team for that day, this hurts the girls who usually represent that team. They do this to win and get points. What do you think of the following proposal for 11 v 11 tournament play? - Any team that has 15 or more players ob their roster for any given tournament can not use guest players.

Anonymous said...

2:03 - not sure if I am the ECNL lover, but I will comment anyway. That side of the ECNL league was terrible last year. STARS had no competition. I will post a link to the other side of the ECNL North East Bracket which shows that 4 out of the 6 clubs were very close and competitive.
I think the ECNL is addresing this and some other things will make it more competitive. I am not sure but here is what I have heard:
1 - Soccerplus removed from ECNL for not being competive.
2 - Group of World Class players and coach moving to Albertson which wil improve albertson.
3 - Other New England team picked up some strong players. Possibly from NEFC.

That side of the bracket was weak last year and STARS had a nice easy ride to nationals. I think that it will be more competitive next year. I am not a total ECNL lover, I am just trying to point out some of the positives. If you look at the other side of the northeast bracket you will see a bit more balance. The GD is still high BC the teams beat up on the other side of north east bracket.

ECNL are starting to address the issue of clubs who are not competitve (such as soccerplus) , this will provide opportunities for other clubs who are stronger to apply for ECNL. I also hear another 1 or 2 clubs from region 1 are going to be put on probation by the ECNL unless they improve.

I agree that it was a very poor league on that side. If you look , at least STARS had 8 competitive games when they played the top four on the other side of the north east in cross over games (WC, PDA, BUCKS, PENN FUSION).

Also, when the teams who did bad in ECNL league play go to the regional events and nationals they play other teams who did poorly and teams who did well play other teams who did well. They are matched up. Which games do you think the majority of college coaches are at!! That raises another good question, if your faughter is on a weak ECNL team is the exposure at regionals events still good!.
You people raise some good points, I am not a total ECNL lover. I agree with many of your points regarding the ECNL. There are positive and negatives to all levels and leagues. Maybe you ECNL haters can find it within to admit that there are a few positives to having a daughter play ECNL!!.

Anonymous said...

3:36 You've made the point that the ECNL is not yet Elite. Even in the Northeast Conference. You know that the Northeast Conference was competitive with the bottom 4 teams. You know that PDA and WC were rarely threatened by other teams in their league. There is a big gap in Eliteness between WC and PDA and the rest of that group. It certainly supports that teams in the ECNL live in their bubble and are limiting exposure outside the ECNL. IMO, the current age groups are being used by the ECNL to build things while they get things right.

Anonymous said...

3:36 You've made the point that the ECNL is not yet Elite. Even in the Northeast Conference. You know that the Northeast Conference was competitive with the bottom 4 teams. You know that PDA and WC were rarely threatened by other teams in their league. There is a big gap in Eliteness between WC and PDA and the rest of that group. It certainly supports that teams in the ECNL live in their bubble and are limiting exposure outside the ECNL. IMO, the current age groups are being used by the ECNL to build things while they get things right.

Anonymous said...

Soccer plus merged with FSA - Virginia Rush got outed.

Anonymous said...

@ 1:43. Thanks for the response..I agree. D3 schools must do something to get girls to sign up. Some D3 programs are fiercely competitive. If your daughter is really good she could start most games.

Anonymous said...

ECNL will never be fre like the boys academies. The parents don't want it free, they want it "elitist" so there is less competition for the kids. Bad for US Soccer, but good for the current members.

The puzzling question is why so many families are flocking to be on the B, C and D teams. Those teams are not high level and I can't imagine the players will get scholarships. Someone mentioned D3 schools in an earlier post - already checked out some of these schools clinics and yes, kids on ecnl teams from around the country are flying to the top northeast academic schools to attend ID clinics. It's pretty much ecnl, odp, and kids on top NPL teams that are being offers roster spots.

Anonymous said...

You guys, watching our u20's vs Germany? 1st game of the World Cup up in Canada.

Germany plays much better possession.


Anonymous said...

What a crazy start to the 2nd half Horan is good.

still 0-0

Anonymous said...

4:03 - I think that the point you make about WC and PDA shows how strong that league was. PDA and world class are Elite. If you look at the results PDA lost 1-0 to the 3rd place team (FC Bucks) and won over them 1-0 in the second game. This hardly shows that they were not challenged by the teams in that league. They also did not beat Penn Fusion twice. The reults in the WC, PDA conference demonstrate a competitive conference as both the top 2 teams (PDA and WC) were challenged by the 3rd and 4th place team. PDA did not finish many points above 3rd and 4th. On the other hand, you are correct about the other conference, STARS were not challenged. This is me solely looking at results as I did not witness these games.

Anonymous said...

4:35 - Thanks for the clarification on the ECNL changes. Do you know if the VA team got ousted for not being competitive?

Anonymous said...

I do not blame U.S Soccer for the guest player rule. The guest player rule is in place so teams can ensure they have the resources to enter tournaments and so players and teams can get the experience and game time they need. The guest player rule was put in place for this good reason.

It is the coaches that should be ashamed of how they use this rule to improve their team and have permanent players sitting on the bench. The rule was put in place to serve a good purpose, many coaches abuse it. Do not blame the organizations for providing us with rules and regulations that allow us to help players and clubs. Too many coaches bend the rules and are more about winning over helping their rostered players develop.

Anonymous said...

The US was thoroughly outplayed by Germany last night in the U-20 world cup. Hopefully, the US picks it up in the next game against Brazil. It may be time to start to listen to Jurgen Klinsmann because the Germans are doing something right at the youth level.

Anonymous said...

On the Syracuse Development Academy website (I know this is out in left field, but I'm close by there) they mention they are close to gaining acceptance into the ECNL...In your experience is this something that could happen. At this moment alot of their teams are only so-so quality wise. Thanks....

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am an ECNL hater, not for the kids that are in it, because it is great for them, but I am a hater because I believe it is bad for US soccer. I have been writing for some time on this blog that narrowing the selection pool early in a closed system will weaken us in the long term. This is essentially the first group of players coming out of the ECNL process. Someopne was on this blog recently speaking of how many US Youth national teams were made up of ECNL players. It's very early and one game doesn't define a team, but anyone who watched that game would have seen a pathetic display of women's soccer and is not a great sign for the future. The team could not string together more than 2-3 passes consecutively,and played a lot of long ball. It seems like the team has made the same decisions you see often even at the high level academy level. The team is stacked with big and fast girls and they played against a technically superior team and crumbled.

Anonymous said...

1:18 I tend to doubt it for the 2014-2015 season as the schedules for next season are already in place.

Anonymous said...


Exactly the point so many of us make (not try to make). Big, Strong, Fast, may win you games, points and tournaments at the youth level but at the professional level (non-domestic leagues) it gets you no place.

I'm glad that so many of the ECNL leagues have the best athletes. How about showing them actually how to play THE GAME vs the 'win any way we can' mentality. Again, ECNL is a money-maker for a few groups. It is NOT what it should be for U.S. Soccer development. Some yesterday had posted that we cannot hold these groups accountable because they are "looking out for themselves"...ok, fair point. Just stop marketing yourself as something else. ESPECIALLY a "development" program.

Jungle Ball with pace does not count.


Anonymous said...

Rose Lavelle is a bright spot on the u20s. She is strong on the ball, creative and overall high soccer iq. However there was no one except Horan in front of her who could play her game. She was not on the ball enough to make a difference in the game. The backs were hoofing it forward. I cannot believe that there are not more skillful soccer intelligent kids out there from which to choose. The outside backs especially were one dimensional turnover machines. Sad really. I think the coach picked the wrong kids. I can think of 4 or five better that weren't there. Sorry but the 16 year old Mallory Pugh was pretty bad save one decent cross/pass from the endline to the 6 played slightly behind Moran very early in the game then very disappointing. Moran as a professional should never miss an open net header like she did. Though she had some decent moments.

Anonymous said...

I watched the game also, and agree with the comments. It's sad when you can't make an accurate pass when there's no one pressuring you. I was surprised at the lack of accuracy when passing, and also by the lack of tactics. I believe one of the announcers accurately mentioned that the US was bypassing their midfielders for most of the game.

I watched one of the NWSL the other night (Portland vs Houston I think) and it was even worse. When no one was pressuring, Houston could not put two passes together.

I saw better skill and tactics on display at the USYS National Championships a few weeks ago at the U14 level.

Anonymous said...

Want to watch THE GAME? Watch Bayern Munich vs the MLS All StarS tonight.

Even when they pull their 1st line players (if they play at all) you will even see their youth players execute properly (though certainly not as sharp or fast).

On a somewhat related note, what did everyone think about those recent comments from Thierry Henry praising Thomas Müller and Franck Ribery in front of players like Messi and Ronaldo were appropriate? Basically condemning the focus on flashy goal scorers vs those who play the game properly?


Anonymous said...

Messi and Ronanldo, the two most recent FIFA golden ball winners, don't play "the game" "properly"? Henry did not say that, its your interpretation of his comments.

Anonymous said...

Thierry Henry said:
"If I had a son right now playing I’d say look at [Franck] Ribery and look at [Thomas] Muller," Henry told media at a Monday press conference. "What Ronaldo does and [Lionel] Messi they are just freaks. It’s true. Don’t try to copy those guys because they’re just freaks and that doesn’t happen often. But you can copy Franck Ribery and you can copy Thomas Muller."

Further he said
""Nowadays I find it to be annoying sometimes that people don’t give a lot of credit to guys that are unselfish," Henry said about his former teammate on the international level with France. "For me Franck represents that. He’s very unselfish on the field and tries to play for his team. Whenever he can pass the ball even when he can score he’ll try to pass it."

----> I don't think this is left to interpretation. They are 'freaks' meaning they get away with not playing "The Game"

----->And Henry offers a rebuttal to your "FIFA gold ball winners" argument in saying:

"Last year, for me, [Ribery] should’ve won the Golden Ball, basically because he won everything with Bayern and he was dominant," he continued. "He’s a team player and most of the time in our game we reward guys who are individual and that guy is not."


Anonymous said...

MLS played a VERY GOOD game. I thought Bayern's played allowed for it (as I expected) but it was nice to see the MLS try and play THE GAME as opposed to kick ball. The MLS definitely represented well overall. I am purposely ignoring the foul controversy and focusing on the actual play Bravo!


Anonymous said...

I will also add that I've always like Caleb Porter, admittedly what little I have ever known about him...but he handled his presser like a pro. I especially loved when he said "I'm not out to kill the game". I like this guy for future National team consideration.


Anonymous said...

He said that Ronaldo and Messi are at another level that doesn't come along often that hardly translates into they don't play the game. Messi is very unselfish and often leads Barcelona in assists. Henry knew he was going to be playing batten Munich and saying nice things about their players was also a courtesy.

Anonymous said...

Two things Henry called Ronaldo and Messi Freaks
Freaks = Man Child (Once in a lifetime players).
Very hard to copy these types of special players - that's why he mentioned players that play the game at the same level of many others but they have I high soccer IQ and great skill to give them the advantage.

To the ECNL hater, you don't think ODP is bad for US soccer? Because of this great ID process that was open to all we have lost generations of soccer players because the coaches pushed "the wrong type of players". You can see they still love the same type of players - just watch the U20 team play.

I am a fan of the closed league. The ECNL is closed to clubs and Teams trying to enter NOT the players. They want clubs that have the same philosophy in regards to development and other things. How can you not see this? It's OPEN for all high level players if they want to play.

The league is 5 years old, give it another 5 years when we can say the next u20 WC - ECNL will have players from their u9 ranks eligible. The ones that stick with the club will benefit greatly as they were able to stick around as top players joined the club. Also as the ECNL grows parents will bring the better kids sooner. We need a league for all the top players to play in. We have that but we have o many posters like you trying to poo poo the league. Blame ODP and their great selectors for the way our NTs play.

Anonymous said...

Largely agree that the problem with the u20s was selecting for size and or speed over soccer IQ and . Amack the right back was horrific but 5'10" tall need I say more.
However, I was shocked to see a bit of a difference in the regional pools currently posted on the region 1 website. Seemed more interested in skills over size with a couple notable head scratcher misses and inclusions. But doesn't that always happen in large tryout situations?

Anonymous said...

The ECNL is improving every year as the better kids are moving from the USYSA programming to ECNL. Precisely because there is an open system. Happening everywhere that an ECNL club is within 2 hour drive. When speaking about closed versus open systems, the issue is open to Players not clubs. Same model in the rest of the world. Near the top of the pyramid are the professional clubs' youth teams. They play in a league. A player is free to tryout wherever he/she wishes.

Now id2 is not open because a player has to be recommended and cant decide to tryout. ODP is open because any player can tryout. That is why many ECNL players still do ODP. Another avenue for identification, albeit expensive.

South Jersey and many other clubs will weaken as the best kids move to ECNL. Already happening.

Anonymous said...

8:40 I am no fan of ODP either, it is more of a money grub than the ECNL and they will openly tell you at the younger ages that they get their selections wrong because they get tons of kids out to tryouts with very few assessors. This drives selection based on things other than size skill (size and strength). It also becomes highly political. I believe there should be some sort coach's recommendation process. I am weary of any process that charges you to tryout, it is also a pay-to-play system where you get the honor of trying out.

I am glad you are a fan of a closed system. I think the only people that I can find supporting the idea of a closed system are people on this blog or people attached to the league and US Club Soccer. There have been numerous articles posted on this blog that quote people in youth soccer and professional coaches and numerous other ones out in the public domain that says that closed are bad for soccer development.

The main issue I see with the ECNL is if that becomes the top of the funnel, we will be narrowing down the top of the funnel and the talent pool and doing it at age 14 or even earlier. I believe that is really bad for soccer development.

One of the reasons Lionel Messi is great because of how he can move around in tight spaces and how he creates small openings to take shots or make passes. I wonder based on selection criteria for ODP or ECNL and the narrowing of the talent pool whether a Lionel Messi could even succeed in our youth system. Based on size alone he probably would have been rejected at the 1 hour and half tryout in place of a bigger faster kid. There are probably a lot of those type of kids missed by our system that emphasizes kick in run at a young age and rewards those kids because of their size and strength.

Anonymous said...

9:51 Right, so what you are saying is that if a child wants to play at an "Elite level" and compete against an "Elite Team" they must be on an "Elite Team." The definition of an open an closed system which exists everywhere else in the world is that if a team proves their merit, then they can advance and if they don't do well they det pushed down. The world uses this for professional soccer and youth soccer. There is no protective bubble.

"South Jersey and many other clubs will weaken as the best kids move to ECNL. Already happening." Yes that is exactly the point, if you take NJ we are forcing kids into a funnel and parents and clubs are starting to do this at younger and younger ages. In NJ the funnel is 2 clubs. So as more and more kids move to the "Elite" programs at younger and younger ages where skill hasn't formed yet, the broad soccer pool is being diminished. Time will tell, I do find it funny though that a week ago someone was bragging about all the ECNL players on the National Teams, and today someone blames the National team on ODP. Truly having your cake and eating it too.

Anonymous said...

Funnel = Pyramid
everywhere that is good.
You are confusing the adult relegation/promotion with the youth programming. The youth play in leagues based on the clubs reputation for producing top players. Not on the success of the adult professional team. Example: Espanyol in Spain is known to produce top youth players, but they are not the best La Liga team. If they are relegated to League 1 their youth team will remain in the top league. This selection is based on the production of top youth players; largely how the ECNL clubs were chosen.

Anonymous said...

10:32 I agree - The youth system needs to be closed for Clubs that promote youth soccer across all ages.

Keep in mind just because it remains closed it's very open to the players.

Why would anyone want pro/rel at the youth level. That's the problem with our youth system to much on results.

However, MLS and NWSL should have pro/rel. But that will never happen because these leagues charge a franchise fee and unless they plan on returning millions of dollars or find a way to get money back to the owners, well we just won't see that any time soon.

Anonymous said...

10:32 I am not confusing anything, there is nothing wrong with a funnel or pyramid (one issue I have is how young we are pushing kids into the funnel), the difference between the world and the US, is that if the teams that play at the top of the Pyramid do not develop players and do not play well, then they will not remain at the top of the Pyramid based on objective measures. (performance on the field). In the US it's based on a divine right as decided by a selection committee. One is based on merit, the other is not.

Anonymous said...

I reviewed my statements and i will soften my stance on Henry's comments towards Messi and Ronaldo. Unfair for me to try and read into his mind and DO AGREE they may not be as critical as i originall interpreted yhen.


Anonymous said...

10:48 when you teams at the top are not developing talent, well i disagree with you and I think you need to look at your comment again.

What makes you say they are not developing talent? They can only work with the players that sign up for their program to develop. There is a level for every child and a limit they can advance to.

We all know lot's of parents hold their kids back because of the fees and wait to get them in later. So why is this held against the clubs at the top of the pyramid?

If all the top players came to these clubs earlier we would be in a better place when it comes to soccer. Because we will have superior athletes that are soccer players and we would dominate the the globe with the player pool we have.

But that's not the case - because we have to many hands in, the USSF is to blame for this for letting youth soccer become what it has a MONEY machine.

Anonymous said...

11:44 Did you actually read my comment? I did not say that US Clubs are not developing talent. I was responding to the previous poster's point that in Spain they have a Pyramid, but the Pyramid is based on merit. And what I said is that if they do not continue to develop players and do not play well at the top of the Pyramid, then the Spanish Club will not remain at the top of the pyramid very long. I made no judgement as to whether we develop kids at the top of the pyramid in the US. My point with the US model is that we are diminishing our player pool very early. It is so easy, for people to say well it is open tryouts and anyone can go to an ECNL tryout, true but there are more than 50 highly skilled players in NJ as an example and the avenues for the group after 50 are getting reduced. Say for example Freehold develops a Nationally Competitive team by U-13 and PDA has a U-13 team that is moving into the ECNl. The answer I'm hearing on this blog is break-up a team that is nationally competitive so the kids can tryout for ECNL where few spots are probably available so that they can play for an ECNL team. Is that really what we want out of soccer. A team that emerges as highly competitive should have avenues and rather than opening up those avenues, we are closing them down. On the other hand if the U-14 team at PDA goes 0-14 and are not competitive they still remain at the elite level with little consequence.

Anonymous said...

I doubt this article will be read but it is very well researched hits on all the key points discussed on this blog regarding soccer development.

It touches on 6 key points

- The lack of a soccer culture
- No uniform identifiable style of play
- Pay-for-play
- Focus on winning over player development
- The ability for self-actualization: meaning the ability for each player to play at their appropriate level
- Too much red tape in a flawed system with this direct quote: "The US Club Soccer model that is starting to take hold in other states incorporates playing league games for promotion and relegation, just like Europe. We would play less games but they would be more meaningful."

Anonymous said...

What Henry was saying about Messi and ronaldo is that you shouldn't try and copy them because you will never have the ability to do what they do. There foot skills and dribbling can not be replicated regardless of how much you try. They are freaks, unbelievable athletes. They can not be replicated. You should look at Mueller because of his movement, decision making, etc. That can be replicated.

Anonymous said...

12:36 you have the gift of the gab - great job.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the best written article on the power of open systems, and yes open systems do exist in Europe.

Anonymous said...

Open systems do operate in some parts of Europe but they do not produce the players. An example. In England the better players get recruited to play in the academies of Man Utd, City, Chelsea, etc at a very young age. If you are not in one of these academies by u-16 you have a very slim chance of making ot to the next level. It is open as all players can play at any level they want yet they have a goal of playing for the club academies as that is the best way to reach the goal of playing pro ball.
Staying at the top of the pyramid in most European leagues has nothing to do with player development. It is all about money. How many youth team players/aacdemy players do you think are playing for the big teamsin the EPL? Not many because they buy players instead of developing. Clubs do not get penalized for not developing players at all. The smaller clubs get rewarded for developing players as they then sell them on for a hefty transfer fee. The leagues across Europe are so different in terms of finance, style of play, level of play. When people refer to "in Europe" it is difficult to gain a full understanding of what they are referencing or using as an example.

Anonymous said...

3:17 You are correct, but the governing bodies in Europe have a system to move teams that aren't ab;e to compete. This is certainly true in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. They have an objective system of moving clubs up and down even the mighty clubs and then it comes down to reputation and abitlity to attract and develop players to keep you competitive. What happens in the US would not happen in the US.

There is an ECNL Club in Las Vegas that 2 years ago had 2 temas with greater than 100 point goal differentials. The same club this year won 9 games across 5 teams with 6 won by 2 teams and their goal differentials this year were -48, -60, -50, -53, and -82. That is -333 goals over 5 teams.

How is that good for the club, the teams they play against, or the ECNL. But that is what you get when you run a closed system. You would never see that happen 2 years in a row in a European Youth League. Absolutely not. And that Las Vegas team takes away opportunities from more worthy teams and clubs. There are northeast examples of this, maybe not as extreme though. And if were the Bayern Academy producing these results then they would not be at the highest levels either. That's what an open system produces, then it's based on merit.

Anonymous said...

3:56 - The relegation / promotion system couldn't work in the USA. It is too corporate. The MLS has an ownership of the league and clubs. In Europe the clubs operate independently from a financial perspective. Being able to move up and down isn't the main premise of an open system. In general, the amount of money you have dictates whether you can realistically earn promotion to the next level. It is not about leagues or clubs, it is about the player. Any player can try out for any club, it is open. The best players can play on the best team they are capable of joining. People are complaining because things are closed to their club or team. It is not about promoting teams or clubs. We have great teams and clubs in the area and every player is open to tryout for them. Not every team gets accepted into WAGS, Jeff Cup, national league, region 1. They are as CLOSED as the ECNL.
$ is a different story but isn't relevant with this argument, both of the competitive teams in my area coast as much as the ECNL team.
You are fortunate to have many options for Soccer in region 1 , be grateful your daughter has these options. There are other parts of the country that do not have the resources and opportunities.

Anonymous said...

3:56 - The ECNL program you are talking about is Las Vegas Pemiere? They lost their DOC who moved with all of the teams shortly before the season started. They had to play out the season with players who were not ready to complete at the ECNL level.
The club has been put on probation and given the chance to re-develop. It would have been wrong to punish the entire club by removing the ECNL status because of that one season. Giving LV Premiere a probation period to demonstrate improvement was the correct action.
This was not good for competing teams as LV Premiere were obviously not competitve, bit removing them shortyly before the season started would not have been helpful either.

Anonymous said...

5:46 The Las Vegas Program has had multiple seasons with very weak teams it was not 1 season.

Anonymous said...

5:29 The promotion relegation system is not just about the MLS, the promotion relegation system exists around the world at the youth level, you can read the articles to see that it is a merit based sytem in the yout program.

I'm sure that you didn't even read the link I posted because the Past UEFA President that identifies the open system as a major dirver for the success of the Champions league. He actually made the statement word for word that "we must protect against elitist Closed leagues." But I do value your opinion more than his.

No doubt the tryout system is open, but your solution for a highly successful non-ECNL team that is nationally competitive would be to break up and have kids pursue rather than to stay together and try to continue to build something. I have seen a ton of opinions, but have seen anyone post anything from a soccer expert that advocates for a closed sytem.

Anonymous said...

5:29 - You are correct that not every team gets accepted into WAGS, JeffCup, etc, but the difference is that all teams are eligible to apply. In closed systems like the ECNL teams aren't allowed to apply. It's great if you are close enough to a member club, but there are plenty of talented kids (and teams for that matter) that aren't able to try out for one reason or another.

Anonymous said...

8:38pm - All clubs are eligible to apply for the ECNL. Whatever club your daughter plays in has the option of applying to the ECNL league. There is a link on the website for the process. Just like the Jeff , WAGS, etc you may not get accepted. You are also missing the big point that ECNL is set up for elite players. Elite players can tryout and play ECNL - it is open to all players. It is not ECNL responsibility to develop and promote teams. (That is the gotsoccer approach - team points team points team points).

It is difficult for players who are not close to a member club but you cant have a national league with 20 clubs in each state. ECNL is as OPEN to all players who want to tryout to play in it as any other league.

Anonymous said...

8:31 - my opinion is not to have the team break up. They just have to make a choice. Do they want to stay together and compete in the available tournaments , showcases and leagues or do they want to individually try out for an ECNL team. What did teams do before ECNL?
Or maybe the club can review the standards for the ECNL and apply in an attempt to become a member.

Again, the ECNL is closed for teams. It is not closed for players. You are obviously happy with the team your daughter is on and the path that her soccer is taking. If not you would have considered a move.

Are people who are against the closed ECNL implying that their daughters team should be able to gain entry to the ECNL(and the ECNL should ditch its club approach to keep you happy)

Anonymous said...

9:31 - There's a big difference between being open to clubs vs teams. There are numerous clubs that can't field competitive teams at every age group and they will never be allowed entrance to the ECNL.

The ECNL has many good qualities, but it has some flaws as well. I'm not proposing they change their rules to allow teams entrance. People just need to realize that there's elite teams and players that don't play in the ECNL. Granted the majority of them are in the ECNL, but not all. Sometimes there's an elitist attitude about member clubs. Even non-ECNL tournaments seem to accept under performing ECNL teams over more deserving non-ECNL teams.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we understand there are other Elite teams. But, they are getting less and less at this age group, no?? It is unfortunate but many teams have folded, and the remaining teams are ECNL, NPL, or have been absorbed by PDA.

Have you not seen the drop off of talented teams, in some of the best non ECNL tournaments, as we have progressed through this age?

The ECNL is not for everyone, and not everyone can make it, but beyond U15, the very good non ECNL/ npl teams are very few.

It was a different story 4 or 5 years ago, you could play on a state cup winner, or region 1 premier team, and they were elite. There was a drop off at this age, but, I do not think, as dramatically. Love or hate the ECNL it seems to be were the best kids are going. Some did not see it 2 or 3 years ago and did not make the move in time. I am sure there will be another league in another time, but for right now...

There's a place for everyone to play, but you are kidding yourself if you think the ECNL is not considered the best league for the top female players. Not all ECNL clubs have the best teams, but when 70 + girls are at tryouts for an ECNL team, obviously others are catching on, and they will start drawing girls at younger ages. When you try out late, you better be an immediate impact player, or you may not break the top 11 or 12., and that's not good either.

Anonymous said...

Virginia Rush has always been at or near the bottom of the ECNL standings. Most of their teams were at the bottom of the Mid-Atlantic. They were really not competitive in a single age group. I believe they attempted to merge with the other strong club in Hampton Roads (Beach FC) to form a Hampton Roads United (similiar to Richmond United FC which merged the Kickers and Strikers). Beach FC has some teams like 99 that would do OK in ECNL.

Rumor was the PWSI was going to take Rush's place but PWSI lost their strong 98 team to NVSC and the 99 team left for Annandale. So ECNL won't bring on a club without a strong team in every age group which would be a challenge for most clubs in NOVA since BYRC and Loudoun have weak 99 teams (Loudoun 99 was Colonial League but they lost some key players over the summer)

Anonymous said...

The strongest Northern Virginia 99 teams Vienna, Herndon, and Chantilly (which picked up players from Harkes, FC Virginia, Loudoun. Reston United 98/WAGS Champion). Lee Mount Vernon imploded. Loudoun lost key players. Mclean's second team is improved. That age group is very thin to get another NOVA club in ECNL without movement. Virginia Premier League looks weak with FC Virginia and FCV AUFC appearing to be the two strongest teams. CCL is weakend with ABGC Premiere gone and Loudoun's attrition.

Anonymous said...

I agree, there are strong teams outside of the ECNL. As we move through the age groups teams will merge and competition at the tournaments will start to be less. This always happened in girls soccer at about the u-15 age level.
I do understand the flaws of the ECNL, but the positives are many. In the ECNL my daughter gets good coaching, plays at good events/games versus other good teams and players. SHe is protected from playing 3 games a day. During this process she will receive college coach exposure so if she is good enough she should play decent college ball. My advice would be , if you have a daughter who is certain she wants to play college soccer and is a strong player , make the sacrifice of drive time etc and take her to an ECNL program for a tryout . If you are already playing competitive travel the costs for the region 1 ECNL clubs (besides maybe 2) will not be much different. Remember, it is not closed to players. If you email your closest ECNL teams head coaches I am sure they will get back to you willing to give a tryout.

Anonymous said...

Look at NJ. Freehold won the State Cup after losing 2 or 3 girls to an ECNL club. If it’s truly a great TEAM, then losing 1 or 2 of your top players won’t hurt that much. TR Everton allegedly lost a top player to an ECNL club recently. I don’t think we’ll see a major drop off from them because they have a great TEAM. Point is if your have a great TEAM & Club, when you lose top players to a different program, your team & Club will still be fine.
Everyone one wants an elite level league, well here it is. Give it a chance or start letting in teams and clubs like JAGS, EDP and other leagues have done?

Anonymous said...

8:11 think you may have missed the point of what they were trying to get across in the posts above. and the trying to establish a set of standards across a club and ability to field teams in all age brackets. the team mentality also seems to fall apart to a certain extent at the higher levels and ages and turns more to an individual thing, rightly or wrongly. but yes if you're daughter is on a TEAM and is happy with it and is getting descent training and it suits your needs by all means stay there. the ECNL and the demands there are not for everyone nor should they be. its simple stay or find the best fit for your daughters situation and stay there and see it through and if it no longer fits try on something new and don't take it personal when someone else does the same.

Anonymous said...

8:11 Isn't that the point of the discussion. If a high quality team stays together they have no chance very little if any chances to compete against the "Elite" teams and ECNL clubs are less and less exposing themselves to competition outside the ECNL. The major tournaments are also the problem because they are often tun by ECNL clubs that shut out those teams from the top tier. So Freehold was able to prove that they can beat a mediocre PDA team but they have no further chances to play against the best PDA team or other top teams in the region.

There is no doubt that the ECNL leadership wants to avoid exposure of ECNL clubs outside of ECNL events because it would point out that the bottom half of the ECNL is very good, sometimes not so good, but not at all Elite.

Anonymous said...

What separates a good team from a "great" team at this age is usually only a few players. The rest are competent role players. Hence if those teams mentioned lost their key players they will not be "great" (arguably they were not anyway- only PDA, NEFC and WC were really great last year) Most "great" teams have a dominant striker and or a great goal creating/scoring attacking midfielder, and a great ball winning excellent quick distributer with both feet defensive midfielder. If the others are competent role players, the team is "great" Lose the core and "great"-> "good". There are many examples of good teams that are missing one or more of these ingredients. ingredient.

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