The role played by the ECNL and ECNL clubs in developing nationally elite players is clear even in US Soccer’s Youth National Teams - where ECNL players are the clear majority of participants.
2012 ECNL Players on US Soccer National Team Camps:
U14 Girls National Pool – 30 ECNL players out of 48
U15 Girls National Team – 17 ECNL players out of 24
U17 Girls National Team – 23 ECNL players out of 24
U18 Girls National Team –19 ECNL players out of 24
The ECNL is also a close partner with US Soccer in various player development initatives. US Soccer Technical Director April Heinrichs has recognized the value the ECNL plays in helping US Soccer identify players and improve the game:
“A fun thing about coming back to U.S. Soccer is that there are so many important partners. These partners are critical for our success. We talk about how vital partners are to us. We only have our (national team) players one week out of so many weeks depending on the time of year and the cycle and the specific youth national team. As critical as we think our programming is, we see a huge shot in the arm in their performance when we work with them, but it doesn’t take much to remind ourselves that their daily development is back at home. We’re depending on those coaches for us to have players who can play 90 minutes and who are good soccer players. In that regard, ECNL has been a great partner for us. They are very open to feedback from us and our interaction with scouting players, coaching education initiatives and that kind of thing. They basically took a great model (Development Academy) and mirrored it, without any of the resources that U.S. Soccer puts toward the DA. They’ve mirrored it with some good leaders who believed it was the right thing to do, and in a short time they’ve built it into something very good to compete in."