ECNL Boys Continues to Develop National Competition Pyramid
[May 5, 2023] The ECNL Boys has recently announced the addition of two ECNL Regional Leagues and more new clubs to its national competition pyramid for the 2023-24 season. This expansion is part of the organization’s ongoing efforts to develop a comprehensive and competitive pathway for elite male soccer players in the United States.
The two new regional leagues include:
- Chicago Metro
Five clubs are forming the ECNL Regional League Chicago Metro, with the aim of eventually being considered for ECNL Boys. The league will initially include clubs from Indiana and Illinois but is expected to expand rapidly.
The first teams to launch into the league are Chicago City SC, Chicago Inter, FC 1974 Libertyville, FORCE, and Hoosier FC. These clubs have all experienced success on the field in recent years, with Chicago City SC being the only USL Academy in Illinois and 1974 Libertyville’s 2005 Boys being the 2022 US Youth Soccer National Champions. Hoosier FC’s 2009 team has also won back-to-back State Cup titles in 2021 and 2022. The addition of these teams further strengthens the ECNL’s presence in the Midwest, which was recently expanded with the formation of the ECNL Regional League – Midwest.
The ECNL Regional League – Heartland (North Division) will now include Sporting Nebraska, Gretna Elite Academy, Sporting Iowa, and VSA, along with Sting-Nebraska and FC United as some of the best best-performing clubs from US Club Soccer’s Central States NPL. These six clubs will form a new North Division of the Heartland Regional League, which will match up with the South Division that has been operating in Missouri and Kansas since 2021.
For the 2023-24 season, Kansas Rush will be joining the ECNL Regional League – Heartland (South Division). The club had a successful 2022 season, with four teams qualifying for the Elite Academy League Nationals and their 2006 boys team qualifying for the 2022 US Youth Soccer Regional Championships in Indiana.
The ECNL Boys continues to be the top youth development platform for elite male soccer players in the United States, offering coaching education and referee development in addition to competition opportunities. The organization’s commitment to developing a comprehensive and competitive pathway for elite male soccer players is evident in its ongoing expansion efforts.