A total of 120 teams, spanning Under-13 through Under-17 age groups, are making the trip to south Texas this weekend for the ECNL National Event in the Houston area.
Games kick off on Saturday, February 15, carrying through to Monday’s holiday.
Preview some of the teams to watch from each age group. Check out the full list of teams going.
The youngest age group is sending 30 teams to Houston, providing some of the top teams a chance to battle against sides outside their region.
Some of the out-of-town teams looking to make an impression include San Juan SC, which has spun off six wins from its first six games of the season. Tampa Bay United Rowdies have won all 11 games they’ve played so far this season and get difficult tests against other sides that have impressive records, including TSC Hurricane and Sting Dallas.
D’Feeters is another side to keep an eye on, as they’ll stay within Texas for this National Event. With a 13-0-2 record, they’ve scored 59 goals so far this season.
The top two sides in the U14 Champions League at this age group aren’t making the trip. But San Juan SC will be there, seeking to build off a 6-0 start to the club season.
Heading south from Colorado is a Rapids U14 team, which has played 18 games this season to the tune of a 14-0-4 record. Sting Dallas is also deep into the season, sitting in second place behind the Rapids in the Texas Conference within this age group.
The performance of a side like Eclipse Select, which won six of its first seven games of the club campaign last fall, will be interesting. Eclipse last played at the end of October and gets a run out with Match Fit Academy, Solar SC and Concorde Fire Premier.
GSA is another team that’s making the trip in search of Champions League consolidation. A tricky trio of matches are on the docket against SLSG-MO, Eastside FC and Crossfire United. GSA holds a record of 10-2, and last played an ECNL match on October 27. Fellow Georgia club Concorde Fire Platinum is also in good standing, holding a 9-1-3 record.
Midwest Conference powers SLSG-MO head to Texas for its final three games on the slate. A 12-1-2 record sees the team in third place in the Champions League standings, with 57 goals on the season.
Both Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Crossfire Premier find themselves near the top of the postseason standings after a small sample size of games (just four so far). That provides ample opportunity to build on positive starts, although the former last played in the fall.
Classics Elite tops the Texas Conference at this age group, and like most of their peers, are taking the field in Houston. The stakes are high for Sting Dallas, Solar SC and D’Feeters, who are also looking to solidify their postseason standing.
Several high-quality sides from this age group are part of the traveling contingent. Three of the current top-six teams in the Champions League standings are heading that way. That includes Minnesota Thunder Academy, which continues to excel this season to the tune of a 13-0-1 record. They’ve scored 49 times and conceded just six goals.
AHFC headlines the contingent of Texas clubs. In the middle of a very strong season, winning 18 of their 21 games, including going unbeaten in the conference play so far. Washington Premier, Crossfire United and Michigan Hawks Black await this weekend.
Virginia high school soccer season starts in the spring, which means that Richmond United is set to finish ECNL play in south Texas. Midfielder Jill Flammia is one of several talented players looking to wrap up regular season play with a few more wins to tack on their 21-4-1 record.
Other sides to note include Concorde Fire Platinum, Crossfire Premier, GSA, Vardar, Solar SC and D’Feeters.
D’Feeters is in third place in the Champions League at this age group, and leading the Texas Conference heading into the Texas National Event. A trio of clubs from the Northwest Conference are on the slate, as they’ll face Seattle United, Boise Thorns and Washington Premier.
Challenge SC brings a formidable 15-2-4 record to the table, and is another talented team from Texas that will look to take advantage of staying in-state for this weekend’s National Event. Sting Dallas has conceded just three goals from 14 games so far, tallying 42 goals.
Concorde Fire Platinum and GSA, like the younger age groups, both have put together strong seasons to this point – this weekend’s slate of games represents their final foray into ECNL action.