ECNL Impact | Changing Club Structure and Methods

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Richmond, Va.(March 30, 2015) - The Elite Clubs National League (“ECNL”) was founded in 2009 with a very basic mission – to improve the training and competition environment for elite youth female soccer players in the United States. This mission is frequently shortened to 3 words – RAISE THE GAME. These words encompass a platform that seeks to improve coach, player, and club development through competition, education, development, and more.

Prior to the formation of the league, top youth female soccer players in the United States played too many overall games and not enough meaningful and highly competitive games.  In this reality, training frequency and quality suffered, and individual player development was not consistently maximized. The ECNL mission was to change this reality – by creating a platform where top players could consistently train with and compete against each other.

The 2011-2012 season was the first “full” season that ECNL teams and players competed solely in the ECNL all year.  Since that season, through consistent and meaningful high-level competition and other associated demands, there has been steady improvement in style of play, coaching, and player performance.  These improvements have come through positive change in the daily environment at ECNL clubs throughout the country.

To understand the impact of the ECNL within the clubs, we spoke to the Directors of Coaching at four top ECNL clubs.  Below is insight on how the ECNL has impacted their club and players in the past few years, and their expectations for the future:

  • Doug Landefeld - Director of Coaching, Michigan Hawks
  • Colin Chesters - Director of Coaching, San Diego Surf
  • Lorne Donaldson - Executive Director of Coaching, Real Colorado
  • Mike O’Neill - Girls Director of Coaching, Players Development Academy  

Crew Spring Classic 2015 Champions

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The Crew Spring Classic held on March 27-29th, 2015 in Grand Rapids, MI was a great start to the season for 5 of our teams.

The Michigan Hawks 07 were Champions of the girls U08 Gold division after winning all of their matches and finishing with the Championship title after a 5:2 win against PSG MI Gators.

Hawks07 crew

The Michigan Hawks 06 Black team were Champions of the girls U09 Silver division. They finished the Championship match with a 4:3 win against RSC Lighting 06 Blue

Hawks06Black crew

The Michigan Wolves 07 were Champions of the boys U08 Gold Division after wining all of their matches.

Wolves07 crew

The Michigan Hawks 06 team were Finalists in the girls U09 Gold division after a close 0:1 final match.

The U13 Michigan Hawks 02 Red team ended the weekend as Finalists after a close 0:1 match to the home team GR Crew Black.

 

Congratulations to all players and parents!

1st Annual Michigan Hawks Appreciation Banquet

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HawksBanquet2015Doug Landefeld, Director of Coaching for the Michigan Hawks, hosted the 1st Annual Appreciation Banquet for the U14-U18 Hawks teams on Thursday, March 5, 2015 at Laurel Manor. There were over 320 people that attended including Honored Guests and Founding Directors of the Club - Tom Coyne, Paul Dugan and the Scicluna family along with Special Guest Speakers (former Hawks players) University of South Carolina-Upstate Head Women’s Soccer Coach Abby Minihan and Rock Valley College Head Women’s Soccer Coach Carrie Barker. The graduating senior Hawks were recognized and honored while two girls from each team shared some insight about their teammates.   It was a fun evening of laughs (some tears by Coach Doug), lots of pictures and great stories. If you were not able to attend this year, we hope you can make it next year.

Open Friday Technical Training Sessions

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The Michigan Wolves-Hawks Soccer Club are pleased to announce Open Technical Training Sessions on Friday evenings.

Who: All players Ages 3-18 (These trainings are open to players from any club)

  • Players will be divided into groups based on age and development level.
  • Player level will range from top level to novice…if you want to develop a love for the game these sessions are for you.

What: One hour and 15 minute training session that will highlight technical ball skills and small sided games.

Where:  Michigan Wolves-Hawks turf field at Jaycee Park, 32500 Pembroke, Livonia, MI 48152. Please observe speed signs in neighboorhood.

When:  Seven Friday Sessions: 4/10, 4/17, 5/8, 5/15, 5/22, 5/29 & 6/12

  • U3 to U12 from 5:30PM to 6:45PM
  • U13 and UP from 6:15PM to 7:30PM

Why: Come train with the Wolves-Hawks Players and Coaching Staff, led by the technical clinician master Sam Cheaib

Cost:  Welcome to all – Bring a friend

Coach Sam inducted into HYPE Sports Hall of Fame

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Congratulations to Coach Sam Cheaib after being selected to the 1st Annual HYPE Sports Hall of Fame! The inductees were selected based on each person’s service to the community and HYPE and their impressive athletic achievements. The following people will be inducted at HYPE’s Annual Dinner “The Village That Raised a Child” Thursday April 16, 2015 6:00pm at the HYPE Recreation Center:

  • Herman Moore – Former Detroit Lion & Pro Bowl WR
  • Sam Cheaib – Legendary Soccer Coach
  • Cullen Finnerty – 4x National Champion QB @ GVSU & All Time Winningest QB in College Football History

Zoe Morse Shoots for Soccer’s Top

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EAST LANSING – Zoe Morse, a junior at East Lansing High, has been in love with soccer since she was a little girl. Recognized as an All-American and representing the U.S. as part of the Women’s National Team, she’s beginning to realize her dreams of playing in the World Cup are within reach.

Morse is one of 24 players in the country named on the U.S. U-18 Women’s National Team (WNT). The team’s first training camp of the year was held in February at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. Soccer’s “U” system denotes players under a certain age, grouping them by team.

“It’s amazing,” said Morse, who plays midfielder. “All the staff there just really helps you out, it’s that kind of environment where everyone just wants you to succeed.”

Morse and her team will be eligible to qualify for the 2016 FIFA U-20 World Cup. However, the next World Cup in 2018 might be more realistic. The WNT program starts with U-17, running through U-23. The final level is the elite WNT, which includes players like Abby Wambach and Shannon Boxx and will represent the U.S. this summer in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.

Morse holding a plaque from the U-17 NTC Invitational in Carson, California.
Morse holding a plaque from the U-17 NTC Invitational in Carson, California.
Credit Zoe Morse

  Morse considers her involvement with the national teams to be her greatest achievement. The All-American honor in January comes at a close second. She also played on the U-17 WNT in 2013, and helped her team defeat Japan in the Women’s NTC Invitational.

Aside from the national team, Morse is a midfielder for the U-18 Michigan Hawks coached by Doug Landefeld. The Hawks program has been a springboard for Michigan’s best players, such as former star defender Kate Sobrero Markgraf.

“The competition is really kind of what separates us (from most programs), it’s why we’re in this league and why people like Zoe are playing for us,” said Landefeld.

Twenty-one of the 22 players on Landefeld’s roster will play collegiate soccer, with 20 in Division I .