The second National Event of the Girls ECNL season is set to kick off on Friday, December 4 in South Carolina. A total of 134 teams spanning Under-15 through Under-18/19 age groups are slated to make the trip for games at the Mesa Soccer Complex in Greer. While the bulk of the squads traveling hail from southeastern states, clubs from Wisconsin, Texas, Colorado and Ohio will be represented.
Similar to the event in Arizona, a significant portion of games will be broadcast online as the recruiting dead period for Division I coaches continues.
TopDrawerSoccer will be covering the event. Check back through the weekend for daily recaps and standouts.
Action in this age group should be particularly competitive among the Southeast Conference teams. Tampa Bay United Rowdies (the No. 6 ranked team in the age group) have spun off wins in their first four games played in league action, but just about every team manages to be competitive. GSA, Orlando City, Sunrise Prime FC and Florida Elite are around the top half of the standings at the moment and will make the trip to South Carolina.
Second place in the Mid-Atlantic Conference with 13 games played, Charlotte SA is making the trip south. NC Fusion is also making the trip one state over for the event.
Keep an eye on Challenge SC amongst the oldest teams. They are the highest-ranked side in the Texas Conference making the trip.
The dominant side in the Southeast Conference thus far is Concorde Fire Platinum’s side. With 49 goals scored and just five conceded, Friday’s matchup against Real Colorado National should provide for a compelling test. Conference games have been limited for the Colorado side, but they’ve won all five games, scoring 24 times in that stretch. They exceled at the National Event in Arizona, winning all through games there by a combined score of 10-1. Forward Juliauna Hayward is one of several talented 2022 graduates on the team.
While they’ve played just seven games in the Mid-Atlantic, Richmond United’s Under-17 squad is quite formidable. They are slated to play against Concorde Fire Platinum on Saturday, and will need a big performance from Jill Flammia to emerge with the win.
DKSC are quite strong in this age group in the Texas Conference, with a record of 11-3-1. They go up against other top teams in the state like Solar SC, FC Dallas and Sting Dallas. Games against Atlanta Fire United, Tennessee SC and FC Pride await.
For some teams, this weekend marks the first foray into ECNL action. Tennessee SC, Ohio Elite, Ohio Premier and FC Pride have only played a couple of games so far, making this weekend an opportunity to face a variety of opponents early in the season.
Conference leaders Florida Elite are one of several teams from the Sunshine state making the not-too-far trip to South Carolina. From seven conference games, they have a perfect 7-0 record and face teams from North Carolina, Maryland and Ohio.
Similar to their U17 side, Richmond United have been very good so far with this age group. They’ve only played seven games in the Mid-Atlantic, but have won all seven. A variety of teams awaits them in South Carolina, as they’ll face Concorde Fire Platinum, Tennessee SC and DKSC.
Another talented team that features a solid Under-17 side, Real Colorado National have been similarly dominant to their older counterparts. In limited action, they’ve won all five games in conference and swept past three opponents in Arizona. Eight games have yielded eight wins and just one goal conceded for the No. 3 ranked team in the age group.
Sunday’s games between Real Colorado National and SLSG-Navy could be one of the best of the weekend at this age group. They’ve yet to lose a game yet during the 2020-21 season, playing eight games in conference play.
Southeast Conference leaders GSA and Concorde Fire Platinum are part of the contingent slated to play in Greer. The latter has a record of 11-1, scoring 31 goals and conceding just five, while the former sits in second with a record of 11-2. The two sides face each other the weekend after the national event on December 13.
Tampa Bay United Rowdies are also rather formidable at this age group, and face a trio of challenges against Classics Elite, Gretna Elite Academy and Charlotte SA.
Carolina Elite Soccer Academy has been a tough matchup for any team this season, and will play against both GSA and Concorde Fire Platinum. They’ll face minimal travel for the event and haven’t lost yet this season, with 12 wins and one draw in a schedule that included a trip to Arizona for the event earlier this month.
It will be interesting to see how teams like Classics Elite and AHFC fare going out of conference. The two Texas teams are both in the middle of the table in this age group, and it’s a good test for the teams involved to see how they translate out of conference.