Four area youth clubs will be participating in the inaugural season of a new national boys league starting in August 2017.
Penn Fusion SA, Continental FC, FC Bucks and South Jersey Barons will all have teams in the Elite National Premier League competition, which will include five age groups from 14-19.
Penn Fusion, Continental FC and FC Bucks will participate in the league as part of the Northeast Conference of the Elite Clubs National League, which is collaborating with U.S. Club Soccer on the new national competition. The South Jersey Barons are in the National Premier League Division of the Elite Development Program.
“ENPL gives our members the opportunity to compete on a regional and national stage, which gives them a little something extra to play for throughout the year,” EDP CEO Alan Shilling said in a news release. “The most intriguing aspect of ENPL are the people and clubs who are involved. Surrounding ourselves with great minds who are committed to the game will allow our league and our members to stay at the forefront of player development within this sport.”
Since its founding in 2009, the ECNL has been the premier competition for girls youth soccer while the U.S. Soccer Development Academy has been essentially the top flight for boys development since its founding two years earlier.
Coinciding with the ECNL’s new boys league will be a new USSDA girls league in fall 2017. PA Classics and Penn Fusion will both have teams participating.
Club officials see the new boys league as a natural progression.
“For the past several years our Girls program has flourished as part of the league, competing on a national level with excellent exposure opportunities to college coaches,” Penn Fusion General Manager Mark Thomas said in a news release. “The focus of Penn Fusion has always been college placement and developing teams and individuals who play the game the right way; the Boys ECNL platform will allow us to do this on a club wide level, with a focus on structured league play and showcase events.”
Ged Quinn, director of coaching for Continental FC, expressed a similar sentiment.
“Having been a founding member to the Girls ECNL in 2009, we have full confidence that the platform for the boys will be able to provide them the same opportunities that our girls currently receive,” Quinn said in a news release. “The competition format from conference play to National Events will give our players the ability to showcase not only themselves, but Continental FC across the country.”