top of page




The ECNL is a national youth soccer league founded in 2009 for the purpose of providing the highest level of competition and the best developmental environment for American youth soccer players, as well as an identification program for identifying players for US Soccer Youth National Teams. The 2009-2010 season was the ECNL’s inaugural season.

The ECNL was founded by clubs throughout the country based on the belief that elite player development in the United States needed a structure that would reduce the total number of games on the schedule and increase the number of meaningful, quality games. The ECNL sets forth a vision that provides a clear path to that goal: a national competition schedule and a national identification program linked to that competition, and an organization in which best practices in player development can be shared throughout the country.

Register for tryouts now!




The ECNL was formed with one driving purpose: to improve the developmental environment for elite soccer players.


In order to accomplish this, the ECNL has several specific objectives:

  • Increase the frequency with which the top players in the country have the opportunity to compete against each other;

  • Decrease the number of uncompetitive games for the top players in the country so that these players can train more frequently

  • Increase the collegiate recruiting exposure for top players;

  • Provide an alternative identification program for these players to be identified for US Soccer Youth National Teams.

  • Every member club of the ECNL is dedicated to accomplishing these objectives. By coming together into the ECNL, ECNL member clubs can help to make the changes necessary to accomplish these objectives far more quickly, efficiently, and effectively.

Pro Player Pathway


Within the last two years, more than 55 ECNL players have signed USL Academy contracts to train and compete professionally within their club or with a club affiliate while still also playing youth soccer.  ECNL clubs like North Carolina FC, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Louisville City, and more are using those contracts to provide youth players training and games with professional players while still maintaining their NCAA eligibility. 

Beyond those 55 athletes who have signed USL Academy contracts, 40 more ECNL players have signed full professional contracts in the past two years. Graduates from ECNL clubs have gone on to MLS, USL, Liga MX, Serie A, Bundesliga and more. Players such as Jackson Hopkins (VDA to DC United), Jimmy Slayton (FSA to Hartford Athletic), Marck Cruz (San Diego Surf to Chivas de Guadalajara), Giovanni D’Agostino (Arlington Soccer to FC Bologna) and Evan Rotundo (San Diego Surf to FC Schalke 04) have paved the way for others to make the same jump as they have, and serve as role models for the next generation of ECNL athletes. As the league continues to grow, the representation of players from these clubs in the best soccer leagues in the world will only expand. 

Read more

bottom of page