CHARLESTON, S.C. (Jan. 11, 2017) - The Elite National Premier League (ENPL) has announced the qualifying National Premier Leagues for the 2017-18 season in California.
Qualifying 14-U to 19-U boys teams from the newest NPL member in Southern California and NorCal Premier will advance to the ENPL Playoffs in June 2018. These teams will earn qualification to the ENPL Playoffs based on their performances throughout the regular season in their respective competitions.
By providing qualification paths for both team-based and club-based competitions, the ENPL will feature the best boys players in US Club Soccer. The regular season competition within each NPL and Boys ECNL Conference are unique and independently structured; however, consistent technical and competitive standards will apply, and all teams will be focusing on the same postseason destination: the ENPL Playoffs.
“The addition of a new NPL featuring the strongest clubs in Southern California, and our long-term member NorCal Premier, which boasts the top clubs in Northern California, ensures that the best players throughout California now have the opportunity for a top-level, league-based competition culminating in a true National Championship,” said Kevin Payne, US Club Soccer CEO. “For players who are not playing in the Development Academy, ENPL will ensure a similarly outstanding, every-day training experience and fantastic competition.”
Eight clubs make up the new NPL member in Southern California, which begins with a 2017-18 season: Albion SC, Arsenal, FC Golden State, Irvine Strikers, LA Galaxy, Pateadores, Real So Cal and Surf.
“Many top clubs have chosen to join the new NPL in Southern California to help bridge the gap between academy and club soccer by providing a consistent, competitive season throughout the spring,” said Jon Szczuka, Pateadores Senior Director of Coaching. “We are looking forward to exposing our players to further professional programming similar to what is provided within the USDA.
“This gives our clubs, teams and players a chance to have very good, consistent competition in Southern California, while also having an opportunity to compete for a quality national championship,” added Alberto Bru, Real So Cal SC Club Director.
NorCal Premier has distinguished itself at the upper echelon of NPL programming, and fittingly receives this ENPL recognition. Through affiliations with 217 clubs, it is the top organization for developing clubs, coaches, players and referees in Northern California.
“It is vital for ‘performance’ soccer clubs’ teams to compete against teams of similar levels - on a weekly basis,” said Benjamin Ziemer, NorCal Premier President. “Until we are in one competition structure, we will remain in a strange situation where neighboring clubs’ teams, of relatively similar levels, rarely play each other after a certain age, because they have not been chosen for – therefore, they do not have access to – the same competitions.
"Until we are in a united competition structure, we will remain in a strange situation where neighboring clubs' teams, of relatively similar levels, rarely play each other after a certain age, because they have not been chosen for - therefore, they do not have access to - the same competitions," said Benjamin Ziemer, NorCal Premier President. "The unification of the competitions, outside and below the U.S. Developmental Academy, is the best step for soccer leaders to take, so clubs may finally offer their players a less expensive, merit-based, more local competition. This ensures, most of the time, teams are playing each other, because they have earned their way into the competition, not because they belong to a club who happens to have membership within the competition. We believe both the National Premier Leagues and the Elite Clubs National League are seriously committed to quickly coming together under one program. For this reason, NorCal Premier Soccer is excited to partner with both within the ENPL."
The ENPL is a collaboration between US Club Soccer and the ECNL to raise standards in youth boys soccer across the country.
ABOUT US CLUB SOCCER:
A National Association member of the U.S. Soccer Federation, US Club Soccer fosters the growth and development of soccer clubs in order to create the best possible development environment for players of all ages.
Anchored by Players First and its five pillars of Club Development, Coaching Development, Player Development, Parent Engagement & Education and Player Health & Safety, US Club Soccer offers registration, league- and cup-based competition platforms, player identification and a variety of other programming, resources and services.
US Club Soccer is sponsored by Nike and supported by LaLiga through a technical partnership.
The Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) was founded in 2009 to enhance the developmental experience of female youth soccer players in the United States through: (i) Improving the competitive environment through creation of a true national competitive league; (ii) Improving the process for identifying elite female soccer players through a systematic scouting and identification program based on national competitions; and (iii) improving the daily training environment at top female youth soccer clubs through developing best practices and training and organizational guidelines for its member clubs. The ECNL is sanctioned by US Club Soccer and is sponsored by Nike Soccer.