ROCKFORD, Ill. – Thursday’s curtain-raiser for the ECNL National Playoffs offered two immensely different sides of the same coin.
On one, a U14 group mostly still striving to impress the throng of college scouts that annually descend on the biggest girls youth tournament on the yearly calendar. On the other a U18 group largely settled on its college destinations playing to close out their club careers on an emphatic high note. The unifying force? Both age groups took their first steps toward securing a national title on Thursday.
The ECNL’s playoffs kicked off underneath shielded skies and relatively cool temperatures on Thursday, providing a quality backdrop for good soccer. While the U15, U16 and U17 teams get rolling on Friday, Thursday belonged to the national finalists in the U14 and U18 age groups. And the day did not disappoint.
Here's a look inside the day’s action at a group of standout players seen by TopDrawerSoccer.com. If you haven’t heard about these players yet, it probably won’t be long.