This coming weekend in ECNL action, it’s all about another showcase.
Clubs across the country are preparing to travel to Texas this week, in advance of the Frisco Showcase, once again testing their players against some of the best club teams out there.
“We’re looking forward to the event,” McLean Youth Soccer ECNL Director Clyde Watson told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “We use this as opportunity to measure just how far we’ve come. We like where we are currently, and our kids are getting better, the commitment level is getting better, therefore, we’re just interested to see how we match up against teams that we don’t typically play that are outside our division.”
In all, 164 different teams are scheduled to compete at the fields in Frisco, encompassing each ECNL age group from U14 through U18. For some clubs, this will mark the very first time competing on a stage such as this one.
“This will be our first ECNL national event,” Internationals SC ECNL Director Keri Sarver told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “We joined the league this year, so we’ve had cross conference games but no national event yet. From the players’ perspective they’re excited and in terms of the competition we’re excited to be surrounded by such great quality teams and to be at such a high level event such as these.”
High quality is expected to be on display, and the event is sure to draw at the very least, over one hundred college scouts, keeping an eye on the best and brightest in elite girls soccer as the recruiting race continues for college teams at all levels.
Of course, the plethora of college coaches in attendance really ramps up the pressure on individuals, as players who have yet to make college commitments have a lot to play for. It’s something the coaching staffs try and alleviate before the games start.
“The thing we try to stress to them is just calm your nerves, and that those coaches know good players,” Real Colorado coach Lorne Donaldson told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “So you don’t have to go and change your game to impress coaches . . . it’s easier said than done, because they are young players. Especially the first game we have to be telling them to calm down.”
There are also plenty of intriguing matchups to watch out for, including a rematch of the 2011 ECNL National Title game on Friday when Lonestar SC U17 takes on Carmel United U17. Other illustrious clubs in attendance are Sporting Blue Valley, Crossfire Premier, Michigan Hawks, Bethesda SC, Orlando City SC, Washington Premier and Internationals SC – to name just a few.
With so many different clubs in attendance, it produces numerous different challenges that the teams must deal with. Some are at the end of the ECNL season, others are bringing players
“We’re right in the middle of high school so that’s a problem as far as they’re in their district play, so they have their big rivalries this time,” Lonestar SC Director of Coaching JD Cochran told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “We also have a lot of injuries just because of the wear and tear of the ECNL season on top of the high school season. It gives great opportunities within our club, within the system to come and get an opportunity to play at the ECNL level.”
Along with plenty of teams making the trip, talents who dot the IMG Academy 150 in various classes are heading south to compete, including Mikaela Harvey, Katie Glenn (Lonestar SC), Joanna Boyles, Alexis Shaffer (CASL), Morgan Reuther, Mia Hoen-Beck (McLean Youth Soccer), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado) and Sandra Yu (Internationals), which is just a small sample of what is a talented group.
The multitude of players and coaches know the task and hand and will be ready for the challenges starting on Friday.
ECNL Frisco Games to Watch:
Friday, Feb. 22
Sporting Blue Valley U17 vs. Crossfire Premier U17
Carmel United U17 vs. Lonestar SC U17
Crossfire Premier U18 vs. Sporting Blue Valley U18
Bethesda SC U17 vs. Michigan Hawks U17
Carmel United U16 vs. Charlotte Soccer Academy U16
Colorado Rush U16 vs. Dallas Sting U16
Saturday, Feb. 23
Crossfire Premier U16 vs. Vardar U16
Colorado Storm U15 vs. Concorde Fire U15
Colorado Rush U18 vs. Dallas Sting U18
CASL Chelsea Ladies U17 vs. Michigan Hawks U17
Orlando City YS U16 vs. AHFC U16
FC Virginia U16 vs. Washington Premier U16
Sunday, Feb. 24
Lonestar SC U18 vs. Michigan Hawks U17
Concorde Fire U17 vs. McLean Youth Soccer U17
Freestate Soccer Alliance U16 vs. Real Colorado U16
Colorado Rush U15 vs. Michigan Hawks U15
Dallas Sting U15 vs. Penn Fusion U15
Utah Avalanche U18 vs. McLean Youth Soccer U18