PHOENIX, Arizona - The first ECNL National Event of the 2020/2021 club soccer season kicked off from the Reach 11 Sports Complex on Friday. The current global situation with the coronavirus made it a different showcase event than any in the history of the league. There is still a dead period for in-person recruiting for Division I coaches so the sidelines were more sparse than usual. The ECNL is broadcasting every game from the event in order to overcome the hurdle with recruiting.
The league also posted signs throughout the complex about social distancing and wearing a mask. There were a number of rules put into place for the event to limit the amount of people on site at any one time, including not allowing teams to stick around to support the other teams from the club during the event, which is usually a trademark of these events.
This season has been anything but usual so players getting back onto the field on Friday for this annual event felt like a brief return to normal. Even though many of the teams at the event had been off for an extended period of time, the level of play was still very high for the club game. Below are some of the standouts from the games I caught on Friday.