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ECNL Jun 30, 2021

ECNL Girls National Playoffs kickoff in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

The ECNL Girls National Playoffs are set to take place from June 30 – July 7 in Lakewood Ranch, FL.

At the ECNL Girls National Playoffs, champions will be crowned for the U13 and U18/19 Champions League, as well as in the U15-U17 North American Cup, Showcase Cup A, Showcase Cup B, Open Cup and U18/19 Composite Finals. It will also host the group stage and quarterfinals for the U14-U17 Champions League.

Teams learned of their opponents and position during last week’s live bracket release, and they’ll step onto the field to begin their quest for a trophy. More than 350 teams and more than 6,000 athletes will be competing in the ECNL Playoffs, making it the largest event in league history.

Beyond the competition, the ECNL Playoffs is expected to see hundreds of college scouts on the sidelines in the largest youth soccer collegiate recruiting event in history. ECNL events are renowned for their tremendous recruiting opportunities for players and coaches alike, and the league continues to set the precedent for collegiate athletes, representing 90 percent of all NCAA women’s soccer players. The Playoffs allow the athletes to give their very best with hundreds of eyes watching.

In preparation for this historic event, below is a look at every age group at the ECNL Playoffs, along with a few notable teams and groups in the Champions League to watch throughout the competition.

For more information on the ECNL Playoffs, click here.

U18/19

The U18/19 Champions League teams will compete in a 16-team knockout bracket. In that bracket, two teams to watch are No. 3 Eclipse Select and No. 4 Internationals, both of which have a legitimate shot at a title run in their final ECNL season before many head to college next year. Eclipse Select finished atop of the Midwest Conference with a perfect 9-0-0 record, while Internationals secured a 17-1-0 record for first in the Ohio Valley Conference. Internationals’ 17 wins were the most by any team in the age group this season, while Eclipse Select was one of just three teams with a perfect record. And by being the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, these two teams could potentially meet in the Championship game.

To view the full schedule and U18/19 Composite bracket, click here.

U17

The U17 age group, as one often with the most uncommitted and recruitable athletes in the field, always ends up with some of the highest-attended and most intriguing games. One of the headliners for this age is Group H. Group H features PDA Blue (11-2-1), UFA (11-3-2), DKSC (17-3-2) and Crossfire United (9-1-2) – four teams with a combined 48 wins and just nine losses. That’s a lot of firepower, which will surely create competitive contests every single day.

Group F, which consists of SUSA (13-0-3), Sunrise Prime (12-4-0), Ohio Elite (11-3-4) and San Diego Surf (7-3-3), is also a group to pay attention to. Each team heads into the ECNL Playoffs playing some of the best soccer of their respective season, making it a group that will have entertaining games throughout.

To view the full Champions League schedule, as well as the brackets and schedule for the North American, Showcase A, Showcase B and Open Cups, click here.

U16

The U16s represent an age where there are close, competitive games throughout, and that will surely be the case for Group D. At the top of the group is LAFC Slammers (12-0-1), followed by WNY Flash (11-4-3), Portland Thorns (9-3-0), with Charlotte SA (8-4-3) rounding out the group. The group consists of teams from all four corners of the country, showcasing one of the hallmarks of the ECNL’s National Playoffs and other national events; teams are always featured against teams outside of their conference. Being so far away from each other, teams will see different playing styles, making each contest a chess match and exciting for scouts and fans alike.

Group E also will be a must-watch group, with four teams that know how to win and win often. GSA (14-0-2), Crossfire Premier (11-1-0), World Class FC (9-3-3) and So Cal Blues (7-5-1) make up Group E, and there will be no shortage of determination to make it to the knockout stage. This group features two powerhouses in 2020-21 and two teams that have played better than their record indicates, which will make each contest highly spirited.

To view the full Champions League schedule, as well as the brackets and schedule for the North American, Showcase A, Showcase B and Open Cups, click here.

U15

At the U15 age group, one of the groups that will be very interesting is Group D, which features VDA (7-0-1), Crossfire United (8-1-3), KC Athletics (6-2-1) and Sunrise Prime (11-2-3). Sunrise Prime played the most conference games out of the group with 16, while both KC Athletics and VDA played just eight. In addition, Sunrise Prime and VDA attended only one national event outside of conference games. It all adds up to a small sample size of contests and a high chance for back and forth games with exciting plays at both ends of the pitch.

The group to its left, Group C, is another one that will be sure to produce fireworks. Leading the group is Concorde Fire Platinum (15-1-0), followed by San Diego Surf (11-0-2), Washington Premier (8-0-4) and SUSA (11-3-2). No team in this group finished worse than second in their division and all had a goal differential of at least +18. Playoffs are about putting the best teams against each other, and that is surely the case in this grouping.

To view the full Champions League schedule, as well as the brackets and schedule for the North American, Showcase A, Showcase B and Open Cups, click here.

U14

For every tournament with group play, there is always a “Group of Death,” that somehow has four strong teams that create intense, exciting games every time. For the U14s, you don’t have to look any further than Group E. That group is home to Internationals (16-1-1), San Juan SC (7-0-0), SUSA FC (11-3-2) and Michigan Hawks (9-2-4). With a combined 43 regular-season wins and just six losses, each team here will be playing the best soccer of their season against the best competition of the season. Whoever comes out of Group E will be battle-tested and will know what it takes to raise a trophy at the end of the postseason.

One other team that is expected to make a deep run is Solar SC, placed at the top of Group C. Solar earned an impressive 21-0-1 record and scored a ridiculous 108 goals on the season. They will match up against Utah Avalanche (8-1-1), Tennessee SC (12-4-2) and Match Fit Academy (9-3-2). After such a successful campaign, Solar SC will be ready for playoffs, and given their success in the regular season, the team is hungry and ready for more wins.

To view the full Champions League schedule, click here.

U13

Like the U18/19s, the U13s will compete in a single 16-team knockout bracket for the title, meaning teams will be ready to go right from the beginning. No. 1 seeded Crossfire Premier certainly earned its seeding, going undefeated with a 12-0-0 record, scoring 56 goals and only allowing three the whole season. Their +56 goal differential ranks in the top three at their age group this season, and their combination of scoring prowess and stifling defense makes them a good candidate to bring home a title.

However, in order to get to the championship match, Crossfire Premier will most likely have to face either No. 4 So Cal Blues or No. 5 Sting Dallas Black, two teams with a better goal differential. So Cal Blues and Sting Dallas Black will be a great match, with the winner potentially moving on to face Crossfire Premier.  It would be a grinding two matches, and could leave the winner vulnerable, which, in turn, could spell good things for No. 3 Tennessee SC.  Tennessee SC finished the season 16-0-2, rightfully earning the top seed in the Ohio Valley Conference. When you get to the ECNL Playoffs, no path is easy, but it’s not hard to envision Tennessee SC going on a run and being able to overcome one of those three battle-weary squads.

To view the full Champions League bracket, click here.

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