FC Virginia’s talented elder crop wins ECNL U-23 national championship
RICHMOND, Va. – One of the best, deepest crops of talent in the long, proud history of Washington, D.C.-area youth soccer got back together again to lift yet trophy this week.
FC Virginia won the Elite Clubs National League’s Under-23 national championship on Thursday, soundly defeating Richmond United 5-1 at the West Creek fields complex.
That result, which came one day after a 4-1 semifinal win over Bethesda, capped an impressive summer season for a group which racked up no shortage of honors as youth players under the FCV and VSA Heat banners before moving on to a range of leading NCAA programs.
Katie Beebe, Brooke Bean, Tori Burress, Meghan Cox, Ashley Herndon, Alex Myers and Murielle Tiernan all got on the scoresheet in Richmond, which hosted the final stage of the abbreviated summer schedule for this still-fledgling ECNL initiative for college players seeking a useful offseason training environment. Their longtime coach Steve Smith again led the group.
With only Mid-Atlantic and a smattering of Midwestern clubs taking part in the U-23 division, most teams played four to six matches over the month of June. Richmond United stepped up to fill a slot at the championship finals when Indiana Fire Premier qualified, but elected not to make the trip to Virginia.
— ECNL (@theECNL) July 15, 2015
Speaking to SoccerWire.com at West Creek on Thursday, ECNL Commissioner Sarah Kate Noftsinger emphasized that the U-23 level was created as a result of requests from the players themselves, with many products of the league seeking the same quality training during their NCAA offseason that helped them so much as youth players.
Noftsinger noted that more clubs have signaled their intentions to sign on for next season’s U-23 competition as the word gets around about the benefits of extending the ECNL developmental model one rung up the pyramid.
FC Virginia ECNL U-23 roster, 2015
Head coach: Steve Smith
Das Neves, Daniela