More than 125 teams across the U15, U16 and U17 age groups will head to Richmond to take part in ECNL Virginia for the final boys National Event of the 2020-21 season before ECNL National Playoffs begin in early July in Greensboro, NC.
ECNL Virginia begins Saturday with three days of intense competition, featuring teams from six different conferences across the country. Cross-conference matches between sides of similar competitive levels are determined by performances in league play to this point, extending developmental opportunities for all participating clubs. At ECNL Virginia, and at every ECNL National Event, clubs can evaluate their team against top competition, which is especially important with National Playoffs just on the horizon. To view the full team list, click here.
With more than 125 teams at ECNL Virginia, there are plenty of compelling storylines and significant games to be had. But there are a few teams that stand out with interesting storylines to watch over the weekend.
Ohio Premier heads into the showcase sitting atop the U15 Midwest Conference with a 10-1-1 record and a playoff spot firmly in hand. At ECNL Virginia, Ohio Premier will have the chance to truly test itself against top teams from around the league. The team will face Texas Conference newcomer Oklahoma Energy FC (15-3-2) Friday, then Northeast Conference newbie NEFC (8-3-1) on Saturday and finally Richmond United (9-2-3) Sunday, also in their first year in the nation’s top league. All three of their opponents are in playoff positions, giving Ohio Premier a glimpse of the playoff atmosphere only weeks away from the actual competition.
At the U16 age group, there are a couple major storylines developing. Florida West, in its first year of ECNL competition, opened the season with seven consecutive victories, leading ultimately to the team clinching the top spot in the Florida Conference. In Virginia, the team will face Lonestar SC South (11-4-4), Sporting Delaware (11-1-2) and Tulsa SC (14-2-4), giving it one of the toughest schedules of the weekend.
Meanwhile, CESA’s U16 team (13-1-7) heads into the tournament following an unprecedented amount of representation at the South Carolina High School State Soccer Championships. Four teams featuring CESA athletes (Riverside, Christ Church, Oakbrook Prep and Eastside) competed in their respective class state finals, with three of those teams coming out victorious. CESA will aim to bring that outside momentum to ECNL Virginia, where they will play against Tulsa SC (14-2-4), NEFC (9-3-2) and Match Fit Academy (11-2-2).
Another team that is worth noting is the perfect Lonestar SC South U17 squad, entering ECNL Virginia with an 18-0-0 record, making it one of two teams in the age group that have yet to record a loss or draw this season. Lonestar SC South will be put to the test though as they face CESA (11-4-3) on Friday and Space Coast United (8-4-3) on Saturday. Sunday presents a clash with the similarly undefeated STA team (11-0-4), which is sure to be one of the best contests of the showcase.
ECNL Virginia merchandise is available for pre-sale online or can be purchased at the event itself. All items must be picked up at the event. To view items on sale and learn more information about pre-ordering, click here.