The Elite Clubs National League (ECNL), the nation’s premier youth soccer league, will have four of its top U15 ECNL Girls teams competing against leading clubs from around the world in the first girls division of the annual International Champions Cup (ICC) Futures Tournament operated by the Relevent Sports Group (RSG). The Girls ICC Futures Division will host 12 teams from five countries at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL from December 10-15, 2019.
“This is the first international club competition of this caliber for youth female soccer players in the United States, creating an incredible opportunity for our teams to compete against a lineup of the world’s best-known clubs,” said Christian Lavers, President of the ECNL. “The competition will feature some of the best youth players in the world, and the experience will be both invaluable and unforgettable. We are honored to share this moment with these teams, clubs, and the ICC as we look to continue to lead the game forward with exciting new opportunities and programs.”
The tournament field includes Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) as the four European club academies, as well as four ICC US-based Regional All-Star teams (South, East, Midwest and West), which will include leading ECNL Girls players and more from around the country.
Challenge ECNL Associate Director and GK Director, Chris Maravalli, will serve as a coaching staff member of the ICC South Region team.
The South coaching staff consists of:
Tricia Taliaferro (FC Prime and ID2 National Director)-Head Coach
Kenny Medina (Sting Dallas)-Assistant Coach
Chris Maravalli (Challenge)-Assistant Coach
Campbell Chapman (GSA)-Assistant Coach
The four ECNL Girls teams, rounding out the field, are made up of the 2019 ECNL u14 Final Four: Concorde Fire Platinum of Georgia, Heat FC of Nevada, LAFC Slammers from California, and PDA Blue of New Jersey. ECNL Girls players everywhere celebrated as the incredible US women’s team won the World Cup and now, with the excitement of an Olympic year in 2020, the talented young women of the ECNL Girls will have their opportunity to walk in the shoes of legends as they compete in their own international club tournament.
“This tournament is a great opportunity for the players to challenge themselves against the best players in Europe in a fantastic environment,” commented Jen Winnagle, Commissioner of the ECNL Girls. “Exposing our players to international opportunities grows their soccer and life skills as they see different styles of coaching and playing. The tournament perfectly aligns with our mission to build leaders in this game.”
On December 11 & 12, the ICC Futures teams will compete in group play. Each team will be placed in a group of four, competing against each team within their group across three matches. Based on standings, teams will either qualify for the top division (Championship), middle division (Trophy), or third division (Bowl). The girls’ teams will each compete in a semifinal match in their division. The Championship Division will ultimately decide the girls’ 2019 ICC Futures Champion.
Matches will be played with two 25-minute halves and a 10-minute halftime. If matches result in a tie, there will not be an overtime period in the knockout stages. Penalty kicks will determine the winner of the game.
The ICC South Region was drawn into the very difficult Group 2, featuring the ECNL National Champions (PDA), an ECNL National Finalist (LAFC Slammers) and the top youth academy in England, Manchester City.
On December 11 and 12, matches will be live streamed through InternationalChampionsCup.com, Facebook and Twitter. On December 14 and 15, the Championship Division including the Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals for both girls and boys will be televised on ESPN.
About Girls Elite Clubs National League: The Girls 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.