Published: January 10, 2012
More initials please.
While another serving of the alphabet soup that is our national identification system may seem like the last thing needed, the Elite Clubs National League is launching a new program that should provide greater structure and depth to the organization’s efforts to bring its player ID platform to a level equal to the burgeoning competitive setup for which it is best known.
Player Development Program, or PDP, is actually part of both ECNL and US Club Soccer, and will also work in conjunction with US Club Soccer’s id2 program and the National Premier Leagues (for age groups younger than the ECNL leagues).
ECNL's new PDP program provides a new avenue to get noticed.
The premise of the program is to gather select players from pods of 5-8 clubs, 15 players in each of four age groups, for a two-day camp. There will be 10 of these nationally for ECNL players, and participants have the opportunity to be identified for the id2 national camp to be held in the summer, or for U.S. Soccer Training Centers, as well as college recruiting.
ECNL President Christian Lavers said the implementation of the events, beginning this winter, is the logical next step in the organization carrying out its vision for elite youth soccer in this country.
“What U.S. Club Soccer is trying to do is look at the entire landscape of competition, administrative requirements, helping clubs and coaches to do a better job in player development, and in identification,” he said. “Doing this has helped significantly change things, even in the past 5 years. As the soccer calendar has gotten more crowded and financial requirements to play at a higher level have become greater, we look at it and say ‘We don’t need that many steps.
We don’t have to send these players to another day of tryouts or another week of games. Let’s try to keep costs low.’ I think there has been a good response to that.”
Lavers said the ECNL events will be for age groups 93s to 96s, and will focus on player recognition, development and identification.
“PDP is designed to drill down deeper, taking these very good players who can benefit from additional exposure and from playing with and against other top players, some who may have been missed and should be pushed into top level of id2 and identification in the national scouting system,” Lavers said. “It gives them another opportunity to show what they can do.”
The separate PDP events in conjunction with the National Premier League will be similar, with coaches and scouts from each division nominating players in their respective age groups. In both cases, Lavers said the organization intends to include an off-field component where coaches and high-level players can make a presentation to the invitees about the finer points of making it to the next level.