Get Recruited Faster with a Player Profile on

Youth Boys May 24, 2024

Players to Watch: ECNL Boys Virginia Spring 2024 National Event

The third ECNL Boys National Event of 2024 is coming up with ECNL Virginia taking place from May 25-27 in the Richmond area.

ECNL Virginia will feature 150 teams from across the league’s U15-U17  age groups. To view the schedule for ECNL Virginia, click here.

Ahead of the weekend’s action, here are some players to know from this year’s event. Players are listed according to their graduation year.

You can nominate also nominate a player who has stood out this season that will be attending the event through the following link.


Cooper Popovich | Goalkeeper
Virginia Union 08 (VA)

Alongside fellow goalkeeper Cameron Flores Popovich has helped lead the Union to a strong season in Mid-Atlantic Conference play (8-3-4, 28 points). The Union just earned a spot in the ECNL National Playoffs and will undoubtedly use their experience down in Richmond to help prepare after taking a break due to high school soccer. At 6’1″ Popovich can make the long diving saves needed to keep the ball out of the back of the net. He is also a leader inside of the eighteen yard box and and is more than willing to mix it up with attackers.


Tomas Garcia | Forward
Florida Premier FC 09 (FL)

Leads an attacking corps that has scored 48 goals in Southeast Conference play this season, the most among all teams. Garcia has a cannon of a right foot and is an asset on crosses into the box and also set pieces. In tight spaces, he can make defenders miss with the subtlest of touches and always seems to be ready for any challenges thrown at him.


Kevin Howard | Midfielder
North Carolina FC Academy 09 (NC)

Recently selected to participate in the USYNT Talent ID Center event, Howard has steadily risen as one of the top midfielders at the 2009 age level. His patience and timing, both in terms of setting up possession and slowing down an opponents attacking ambitions, has helped bring organization and structure to North Carolina’s midfield. Thanks to his efforts, they have rocketed to the top of the Mid-Atlantic Conference (13-0-2, 41 points) while leading the conference in goals scored (60) and goals allowed (11).


Enrique Ortiz Zavala | Midfielder
Penn Fusion SA 09 (PA)

Builds attacking plays from the center pitch and can thread passes through the thickest of traffic. Zavala seems highly comfortable making small adjustments in the midfield, taking what he sees in terms defensive alignments and providing a quick counter. His work at retaining possession and leading their efforts in the midfield has helped push Penn Fusion out to a 9-3-0 record on 27 points in Northeast Conference play.


John Coleman | Goalkeeper

Coleman has proven to be an integral player for STA over the past few seasons, winning the 2023 US Club Soccer National Championship, the 2024 Jefferson Cup, and helped STA book a Sweet 16 appearances in the ECNL Playoffs. He has trialed in the past with NK Istra 1961 of HNL1 and has also won the 2023 YES Cup Milan with International NCE program (he is also the goalkeeper for Bergen Catholic High School in New Jersey). For STA this season he has allowed .54 Goals Against average this season.


Jaden Lee | Midfielder
World Class FC 09 (NY)

The captain of World Class’ 09s, Lee has led the team to their third consecutive Northeast Conference title and another crack at the National Playoffs. The Ridgewood High School midfielder has scored nine goals and tallied eight assists thus far for World Class. His explosive speed and consistent ball control will pose major problems for defenses at ECNL Virginia.


Dylan Mazzarella | Defender

Fresh off of a trial with Sporting Kansas City’s Academy, Mazzarella is looking to continue to provide high level defensive work for STA in Virginia. During his last visit to the state, he led STA to a championship at the Jefferson Cup. In 2023, he was selected to participate in a USYNT ID Center camp and was named the NJ Freshman Player of the Year.


Operating out of the defensive midfield, Meehan impedes attacks by plugging passing gaps and making timely tackles outside of the eighteen yard box. He has also shown a knack for coming through in big moments, scoring the game-winning goal in their 2-1 win over Lehigh Valley United Rush.

Luke Stavrou


Leads an Alliance backline that has secured four consecutive victories in Mid-Atlantic Conference play, booking their spot in the National Playoffs. Stavrou has excellent timing and can make the difficult diagonal runs back to close off attackers. He was named to the ECNL Mid-Atlantic All-Conference First Team last season.

Kyle Harvey


Alongside Meehan and the Match Fit defense that have earned six shutouts in ECNL play this season. No matter what position Harvey is playing in the defense he can pick up the small gaps in attacking game plans and plug them. His clearances are also on point, knowing when to kick it out of bounds and when to hold and open up play with a simple pass.

Chase Stewart


Hammered home a brace earlier in the month against Pateadores to put Heat FC back into first place in the Southwest Conference standings (13-5-4, 43 points). The ODP National Team member and two-time Southwest All-Conference First Team member has been on a scoring tear this season, belting 28 goals in conference play. He has also proven himself to quite adept at setting up his teammates as well, tallying nine assists in the Southwest.

Riley Bedics | Goalkeeper
FC Pride Elite 08 (IN)

Booked eight clean sheets across all ECNL Competitions this season, including four in Midwest Conference play. Bedics possesses excellent field vision and can direct his throws and punts out to open teammates at wide distances. He is also effective at reading attackers small movements in one-on-one situations, getting his body in front of shots and limiting goal scoring windows. He has also proven that he can come through in big moments in Showcase play, earning three shutouts at ECNL South Carolina in December.


Nathan Gritzmacher | Midfielder
FSA FC 08 (CT)

Helps FSA retain their shape through the midfield by threading highly accurate passes throughout the pitch. Gritzmacher thrives at both the center and defensive midfield positions and helps organize the team’s possessions throughout the match. His patience and ability to spot open teammates has helped FSA hold onto leads late and stay in the top two of the Northeast Conference-North Division (6-2-4, 22 points).


Cameron Flores | Goalkeeper
Virginia Union 08 (VA)

Alongside his goalkeeper teammate, Cooper Popovich, Cameron helped VA Union to the 2024 ECNL National Playoffs. While playing 15 matches in goal for VA Union, he conceded just 4 goals with 12 clean sheets across his halves. A strong communicator who keeps his backline organized and is an excellent shot-stopper that is able to play the ball with either foot. Cameron is also a member of the 2023/2024 East Region ODP team.


Carsten Shidler | Midfielder
FC Pride Elite 08 (IN)

Seamlessly made the transition from defender to right winger this season playing a key role in Pride winning their second consecutive Midwest Conference Championship at the 2008 level. Since then, he has earned two assists and scored nine goals for the team. He is an attacking asset with either foot (two goals have come from his left foot and three from his right) and the air (four). He is a versatile player that helps his team in crunch time.


Colin Harkleroad | Goalkeeper
Matchfit Academy 08 (NJ)

A 2023 USYNT ID Training Center invitee, Harkleroad is coming off of a standout high school season with The Pennington School having helped the team win the Mercer County, MAPL, and New Jersey Prep Championships. He was also selected to the Surf Select National Blue Team last year and represented New Jersey’s ODP program in 2021.


Chancey Garcia | Goalkeeper
Virginia Union 08 (VA)

Together with his fellow goalkeepers, Cooper Popovich & Cameron Flores, Chancey has helped Virginia Union complete a strong season in Mid-Atlantic Conference play (8-3-4, 28 points) and qualifying for the upcoming 2024 ECNL National Playoffs. In his 10 games in goal this season, Chancey only conceded five goals total and had seven clean sheets in the halves he played. At 5-10, Chancey demonstrates his leadership from the back with his poise in the box, excellent communication organizing his teammates, and effective distribution, with both feet, supporting his teammates during the match.


Malachi ‘MJ’ Winn | Midfielder
Maryland United 08 (MD)

United’s current leader in goals scored, Winn has provided an attacking spark all season for Maryland. His breakneck speed and ability to weave through defenders makes him highly difficult to break down and an asset as Maryland build’s goal-scoring opportunities.


Ellison Polyne | Attacking Midfielder-Winger
Manhattan SC 07 (NY)

Netted a cracking right-footed goal in Manhattan’s 2-0 victory over STA two weeks ago pulling them into third in the Northeast Conference standings (6-3-2, 20 points). Polyne can play either in the center or in the wings and uses his electric speed and quick touches to break past defenders. He has previously earned invitations to participate in USYNT ID Center events and was selected to participate in the ECNL’s National Selection Game in Florida in January.


Gianni Marella | Defender
Cleveland Force 07 (OH)

Followed up an excellent 2022-2023 campaign in which he earned Ohio Valley All-Conference First Team honors with an equally impressive effort, leading the Force backline to four shutouts. Marella can contain attackers work in the defensive third with tight marking and timely tackles. He is also able to build possession out of the back and will force opponents to back track with his crisp diagonal passes. In addition to playing for Cleveland’s ECNL team he is also a member of their U20 USL Academy.


Benjamin Rhodes | Goalkeeper
Beach FC 07 (VA)

Dominated Mid-Atlantic Conference play this season for Beach (9-2-4, 31 points) earning six shutouts while allowing just fourteen goals. Rhodes always seems to make the right decision inside of the eighteen and has excellent footwork allowing him to make quick saves on shots from short range. For First Flight High School in North Carolina he helped the team win the 2023 NCHSAA 3A State Championship.


Aidan Aarli | Midfielder
Rockford Raptors 07 (IL)

Trained with LaLiga Select in Spain over the winter where he had the chance to play against the Rayo Vallecano and Athletico Madrid youth academies. Aarli is a highly technical midfielder that can help transition Rockford for a defensive posture to an attacking one. His sleek passing skills helps up play for the Raptors, who have won their last four conference matches by outscoring their opponents 9-3.