ECNL Girls National Finals wrap up in Richmond as five teams capture 2022 championships
The 2022 ECNL Girls National Finals concluded on Monday in Richmond, Va. as five teams earned the prestigious honor of becoming ECNL Champions League winners.
Solar SC both captured the U13 and U14 ECNL National Championships, while Slammers FC HB KØGE (U15), SLSG Navy (U16) and Real Colorado National (U17) each went home as national champions as well. These five teams join the Concorde Fire Platinum U18/19 squad, which previously won the ECNL Champions League title in Seattle.
U13 National Champion: Solar SC
The U13 National Championship was a battle of two extremes clashing on the pitch. On one side was Solar SC, the No. 2 ranked team in the nation with one of the best offenses in the country. On the other was PDA Blue, who had yet to allow a goal in the ECNL postseason. Which advantage would prove to be the difference?
Early on in the match, that advantage went to Solar SC. The Dallas club pumped two goals past PDA Blue within the game’s opening minutes, snapping their shutout streak and taking command of the contest. Their two-goal lead allowed the team to cruise, managing the pace of the contest and waiting for opportunities to strike again.
However, PDA Blue did not roll over, and slowly took back control of the game. In the second half, the team continued to play aggressively and was eventually rewarded, knocking home a shot to move the game to 2-1. Feeling the comeback, PDA Blue pushed forward again, bringing everyone forward, searching for the equalizer. Sensing the drama rising, PDA Blue evened the game 2-2 in the dying minutes of the second half, forcing the match to extra time.
After neither team managed to score in extra time, the U13 National Championship went to PKs.
In PKs, Solar SC converted four of its shots, while PDA Blue only scored two, giving Solar SC the U13 National Championship trophy.
— Solar Soccer Club (@solar_soccer) July 11, 2022
U14 National Champion: Solar SC
After dispatching the reigning national champion, Legends FC headed into the National Championship game looking to knock off the undefeated, top-ranked Solar SC.
Throughout the first half, the two teams battled each other, pressing and searching for the first goal of the contest to gain the upper hand. However, it was the defense for both sides that were hanging on, and the two sides entered halftime tied at 0-0.
In the second half, the two teams continued to chip away, but it was Solar SC who got on the board first with a banger of a tally. Even with the lead, Solar SC continued to press forward, even adding a second goal with less than five minutes left in the contest to make it a 2-0 game.
Despite the deficit and time running out, Legends FC was not finished. The team flipped the field and cut Solar SC’s lead to 2-1 in the dying minutes. Needing just one more goal to send the game into overtime, Legends FC put everything on net, but Solar SC stood strong and captured the title with a 2-1 win.
— ECNL Girls (@ECNLgirls) July 11, 2022
U15 National Champion: Slammers FC HB KØGE
Championship matches already have high stakes, but the stakes become even higher when your opponent is also a conference foe.
Legends FC and Slammers FC HB KØGE battled it out on the pitch, aiming to be the team that brought home the championship to the Southwest Conference.
In the first half, Legends FC and Slammers FC HB KØGE tested each other, looking for weaknesses to exploit, and it was Slammers FC HB KØGE who converted first to take the 1-0 lead. Falling behind, Legends FC regrouped and took control of the game, peppering the Slammers FC HB KØGE backline, but was unable to find the equalizer before halftime.
In the second half, Slammers FC HB KØGE maintained possession and dictated pace, but Legends FC was able to disrupt and get chances on net. As the half moved closer to full time, Legends FC became more and more desperate to even the contest, but Slammers FC HB KØGE was able to keep the team at bay, earning the hard-fought 1-0 win and national championship.
— Slammers Futbol Club (@slammersfc) July 11, 2022
U16: SLSG Navy
In some National Championships, a win and loss can come down to a matter of inches. In the SLSG Navy vs. Colorado Rapids match, such was the case.
In a heated match, both teams came out swinging from the opening whistle, immediately putting everything they have into the offensive aspect of the game. Trading chances up and down the pitch, both goalkeepers were tested early and often, but the score remained 0-0.
Later in the half, SLSG Navy was awarded a penalty kick, and the team buried its shot to make it a 1-0 contest, which it carried into the second half.
In the second 45 minutes, the teams continued to play an extremely tight match, with equally impressive offensive and defensive efforts. Colorado Rapids did everything in its power to find an equalizer, while SLSG Navy did just as much to maintain its lead.
At the final whistle, it was SLSG Navy who held on, capturing the title with the 1-0 win.
— ECNL Girls (@ECNLgirls) July 11, 2022
U17: Real Colorado National
Beach FC and Real Colorado National put forth an excellent display of talent and tenacity on the pitch in Monday’s National Championship game, one that was up for grabs until the very end.
From the opening whistle, the two teams were step by step with each other. When one went down the pitch with a scoring chance, the other immediately countered with an equally dangerous chance. But as the half wore on, Real Colorado National started to pull ahead. With two quick goals in the later part of the half, Real Colorado National took a multi-goal lead into the half.
In the second half, Real Colorado added a third goal to increase their lead to 3-0, but Beach FC wasn’t done yet. The club got on the board with a goal to make it 3-1, looking to use the tally as a springboard for a comeback. However, Real Colorado National stood strong, controlling the game to the final whistle for the U17 National Championship.
— Real Colorado Soccer (@RealColoSoccer) July 11, 2022