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ECNL Oct 10, 2019

Boys ECNL standouts receive youth national team call-ups

(RICHMOND, VA) – On the heels of the U.S. Soccer Youth National Team call-up for Beach FC Boys ECNL U17 striker Mauricio Gutierrez, more Boys ECNL standouts find themselves in positions to represent national teams across the world in upcoming competitions.

In late September, the Mexican Football Federation held a camp in conjunction with the Sueno Alianza de Futbol Hispano National Showcase event to assess talent for future Mexican national team opportunities in which they worked with a group of 18 Mexican-American youth players born in 2004, identified through their American scouting network.  The camp ran from September 26-30 in Southern California and included three members of the LA Breakers Boys ECNL U16 team: Michael Hernandez, Jason Moreno, and Sebastian Ricardo Rincon.

The efforts of the Mexican Federation to identify talent within the US marks a new strategic approach for the national teams, but one that many soccer coaches feel will yield results due to the talent that exists in key markets.  With the three boys identified from LA Breakers Boys ECNL, it is another clear representation of the quality that exists within the league.

“The LA Breakers are so proud of Jason, Michael, and Sebastian for their achievements and being called into the Mexican youth national team training camp here in the USA and Los Angeles,” said LA Breakers DOC, Tim Pierce.  “It is a smart move by the Mexican Federation to search in the states for players that come from Mexican heritage and it is a wonderful opportunity for these young aspiring soccer players”.

Second year Breakers player, Sebastian Rincon expressed what it means to have this opportunity.  “This experience was of great motivation, because it shows the honor, feeling, and passion to represent our country. This a great step forward for all three of us and the start of something new.”

Approximately 2,100 miles away in Atlanta, Georgia, another Boys ECNL player was being called up for international duty.  Vedad Kovac, a member of the NTH-NASA Under-18/19 Boys ECNL side, was called up to the Bosnia-Herzegovina National Team in September for friendlies against Albania.  Based upon quality performances across the two friendlies, Kovac was selected to another camp to prepare for the Under-19 European Qualifiers in November.

Kovac departed last week, in preparation for friendlies against Slovakia, and clearly recognizes the magnitude of the opportunity in front of him.  “The last couple of months have meant a lot to me,” commented Kovac.  “I have experienced something I would not trade for anything.  This has made my family very happy, which has made me even more excited to participate.”

Born in the United States to a Bosnian mother and father, Kovac has been with NTH-NASA since the age of nine, and has been coached by the club’s Director of Player Development, Todd Gispert, for the last four years.

According to Gispert, the call up for Kovac is warranted based upon a host of strengths he brings to the table.  “His technical ability is superb.  The way he utilizes his body in tight spaces is fantastic. He also scores goals and that means a lot at any level,” said Gispert.

Only in its third season, the Boys ECNL has rapidly grown to include 90 top clubs across the country, and the level of play within the league is increasing at a rapid clip.  The opportunity to shine on a national stage, to compete in high-level conference games, and to develop daily in great training environments will help more and more talented players in the Boys ECNL rise to prominence in the coming years – both domestically and internationally.