RICHMOND, VA (February 10, 2021) – The ECNL Girls is thrilled to announce that Beach FC, Legends FC, Oklahoma Energy FC, Sporting Blue Valley, Sporting Iowa, and Utah Royals FC – Arizona will join the country’s top youth female league for the 2021-22 season. The addition of six new clubs will bring additional talent and fierce competition into the already loaded Midwest, Southwest, and Texas Conferences, and will continue the fulfillment of the ECNL mission to Raise the Game across the country. For more than a decade, the ECNL has supported the nation’s leading clubs as they develop the next generation of college and professional stars.
“Year over year, the ECNL has provided players, clubs and coaches with an unmatched environment to achieve their potential and their goals,” said ECNL Girls Commissioner Jen Winnagle. “We are excited for these teams to begin their journey in the ECNL, and for the players to experience not only the competition but also new programs like the Super Cup, designed to further extend the pathway for personal development. The ECNL embraces the demand for continuous evolution and innovation to insure a constantly increasing standard of excellence to challenge the nation’s best.”
All six teams join the top female youth league in the world after peaking in other leagues and competitions over the previous years. Sporting Blue Valley and Sporting Iowa make the jump after successful campaigns in the ECNL Regional League – Heartland Conference this season, where they were at the top of the division for nearly every age group. Beach FC, Legends FC, Oklahoma Energy and Utah Royals FC – AZ all continue their rise through the youth soccer ranks in their respective regions, building on a history of national success across multiple platforms over several years.
Beach FC, Legends FC and Utah Royals FC – Arizona will all join the ECNL’s Southwest Conference, Sporting Blue Valley and Sporting Iowa will join the Midwest Conference, and Oklahoma Energy will join the Texas Conference.
Long Beach, CA
With more than 125 boys and girls teams representing more than 1,800 families, Beach FC is one of the largest soccer organizations in Southern California. Through a distinct style of play, the club has developed many players for collegiate programs, national teams and for the professional ranks. At its core, Beach FC believes in family, industry and community and remains deeply committed to its local roots.
“Beach Futbol Club is thrilled to be including our girls program in this new chapter for our club,” Club Director Mauricio Ingrassia said. “We have spent the better part of the last decade building our club to national prominence. In roughly the same amount of time, the ECNL has risen to become the highest level of competition and player development in the United States. We are looking forward to the competition and to becoming great partners for the league in its mission. We are truly grateful for the opportunity to be all-in with the ECNL.”
Founded in 2002, Legends FC has grown from just four teams in its inception to 265 in 2020. In those years, Legends FC has won four national championships, four national second-place finishes, 11 regional championships, 24 state championships, more than 50 national level players and more than 400 collegiate recruits.
“Legends FC is excited to join the ECNL,” Club Director Josh Hodges said. “The ECNL has built an incredible platform that fosters growth and development opportunities through programming, ongoing education, player identification, and the highest level of competition in the country. Our rich history of committed and driven players and coaches will truly have an opportunity to maximize their potential. We look forward to working with the ECNL leadership and collaborating with member clubs around the country in our responsibility to raise the game.”
Oklahoma Energy FC
Oklahoma City, OK
Oklahoma Energy FC was born out of the legacy of one of Oklahoma’s most successful soccer programs, Oklahoma FC. In 2017, OEFC partnered with USL Club Oklahoma City Energy FC to form a statewide program bringing an emphasis on challenging their players in the best competitions while maintaining the key premises of fun and passion in the game. With the singular focus to provide the best development and competition for players of all levels in our state, Oklahoma Energy is proud to join the ECNL.
“Oklahoma Energy FC is excited to become a new member of the ECNL for the 2021-22 season,” Girls Academy Director Gareth Evans said. “At OEFC, we are proud of the culture and environment we provide our membership. We look forward to continuing to provide our players with college and USYNT exposure whilst also getting to compete with the best clubs in the country on a weekly basis. Being able to add the ECNL and ECNL Regional League to our elite level programming gives us a great platform to help grow and develop our players and club further.”
Sporting Blue Valley
Overland Park, KS
Sporting Blue Valley was founded in 1977 with the goal to provide area youth with a fun, safe recreational league. In the 40-plus years since, Sporting Blue Valley has expanded to include more than 120 teams, ranging from U-8 to U-19 age groups. In the spring of 2011, Blue Valley Soccer Club became a Sporting KC Academy affiliate and one of the founding members of the Sporting Club Network.
“Sporting Blue Valley is extremely excited to be a member of the ECNL,” Girls Director of Coaching Richard Davies said. “The competition provided will give our female players the best environment to develop to their full potential. We look forward to competing against so many fantastic clubs.”
Des Moines, IA
Sporting Iowa was established in 2014 through the merger of multiple Iowa clubs, and is a Sporting KC Academy affiliate. Sporting Iowa emphasizes player development and maximizing opportunities for youth soccer players in Iowa through participation in local, regional and national events, a philosophy continued and emboldened by joining the ECNL.
“Sporting Iowa is ecstatic to join the prestigious Elite Club National League and to further enhance the opportunities and pathways we constantly search for to amplify the experience for our players,” Executive Director John Sheridan said. “We are proud to represent Iowa as the first and only club to have full ECNL access for our girls program. We look forward to utilizing the high-quality competition, recruitment platform, club connections, and travel events the ECNL provides. This will be a complete game-changer for soccer players in Iowa.”
Utah Royals FC – Arizona
Utah Royals FC – Arizona’s mission is to be a leader within Arizona and be a national leader in player development. With teams ranging from U-13 to U-19, Utah Royals FC – Arizona is building a pathway from academy to professional and international opportunities. By joining ECNL, the club provides its athletes with more opportunities to fulfill that journey.
“We are excited to join the ECNL with our girls program,” Academy Director Tiffany Roberts said. “The strength of the ECNL and all of the programming they provide is known nationwide. The ECNL has a track record of creating a competitive conference structure and national events that will benefit our players. We are always looking for the best possible competition for our young women and the ECNL will provide that opportunity for our players and give them a great pathway into college and beyond.”
About the ECNL:
The ECNL is the nation’s leading youth soccer development platform. The ECNL respects and celebrates the unique individuality of every youth soccer player and club, supporting and enabling them to unleash their unfettered passion and fierce tenacity in striving to achieve their potential.
The ECNL mission to Raise the Game is a total commitment to create the best possible environment for players, coaches, referees and administrators, with a determination to constantly question convention and challenge the status quo in youth sports.
The ECNL Commitment:
We will lead, set our eyes on new horizons, and pursue them relentlessly. Born out of the belief in a better way. Continued in the ever-evolving pursuit of excellence.