ECNL Boys National Finals conclude with crowning of U13-U17 national champions
On Monday, the ECNL Boys crowned national champions in the U13-U17 age groups, capping off an exciting 2021-22 season. The title games featured impressive play at every level, complete with big saves and even bigger goals.
See below for a full rundown of the U13-U17 ECNL Boys national champions.
U13 Champions: San Diego Surf
Two Conference rivals, meeting for one last match this season, but this time, a National Championship was on the line.
San Diego Surf and Legends FC battled it out on the pitch in St. Louis, giving everything they had to bring home the silverware.
The two teams traded chances throughout the match, but just like their regular-season meeting, it was San Diego Surf that was able to pull ahead.
Defense was key for Surf, limiting scoring chances for Legends FC and allowing San Diego to play out of the back. Their defense fueled the offense, and when Surf was able to take the 1-0 lead, the team was able to control the pace for the remainder of the match.
Later on, Surf found that insurance tally and at the final whistle, San Diego Surf added to their trophy case with the U13 ECNL National Championship trophy.
U14 Champions: Dallas Texans Academy
Dallas Texans Academy and Seattle United met in the U14 National Championship match, and it was a title game to remember.
The two sides battle dit out on the pitch, running up and down the field, trying to generate any scoring chance possible. Pushing the pace and capitalizing on chances, both teams were able to put one into the back of the net in the first half, putting both teams’ title hopes on the line in the second half.
In the second half, continuing its strong play from the first half, Dallas Texans was able to pull away, adding a second goal to ice the contest and capturing the club’s second national championship in as many years.
U15 Champions: DKSC
In the U15 age group, DKSC followed the lead of Dallas Texans and brought home a second national championship to the DFW area.
Facing off against Pipeline SC, the two squads gave each other everything they could handle during the first half. Both teams were able to get solid looks on net, forcing their opponents to make big saves and stay defensively sound. But with each scoring opportunity, the other side responded, and through the first half, the score was even at 0-0.
In the second frame, the two teams continued to duel on the field, but it was DKSC who was the better of the two teams. DKSC scored two goals in the second half, while just limiting Pipeline SC to just one. When their second goal crossed the goal line, DKSC locked down the rest of the game and became national champions in the process.
U16 Champions: Oklahoma Energy FC
Oklahoma Energy FC and Eclipse Select SC met in the U16 National Championship, and the result led to an iconic moment for the Oklahoma club.
For the majority of the first half, the two sides played a chess match, attacking and counterattacking, looking for whatever way they could to solve the opposing defense. That chess match created a match where each side had to grind away for scoring chances, where one play could be the difference between victory and defeat.
The two sides failed to score in the first half, and as the second half wound down, each team became more and more desperate for the first goal of the contest.
Finally, it was Oklahoma Energy FC who broke through.
Following a cross into the box, an Oklahoma Energy FC forward and Eclipse Select SC goalkeeper both leaped into the air for an aerial challenge. Oklahoma Energy FC was a half-step faster, and the ensuring header found the back of the net for the goal and game-winner.
At the final whistle, Oklahoma Energy FC brought home the national championship trophy and the Texas Conference’s third title of the day.
U17 Champions: Pipeline SC
In the final and oldest championship match of the day, Match Fit Academy and Pipeline SC played a title game to remember.
Match Fit Academy and Pipeline SC came out blazing to start the game, and Pipeline SC was able to convert early. A shot snuck past the goalkeeper near the left post within the first 15 minutes of the match, allowing Pipeline SC to settle in early and command the field.
Pipeline SC kept its 1-0 lead through the first half and into the second, where midway through the second frame, the Maryland club was able to double its lead. A failed clear led to a long-range shot and Pipeline banged home the rebound to make it a 2-0 game.
Now armed with a multi-goal lead, Pipeline SC clamped down on defense, weathering the ever-increasing Match Fit attack. But after 90 minutes, Pipeline SC kept the clean sheet and was rewarded with the much-deserved National Championship trophy.