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ECNL Mar 21, 2024

Scout’s View: 11 ECNL Girls players who shined at the Jefferson Cup

The 2024 Jefferson Cup Girls Showcase Weekend took place from March 15-17 in Richmond, Va. featuring a wide array of the top youth teams in the country.

Hundreds of college coaches were on hand for the top-ranked event which showcased matchups between teams from numerous high level national and regional leagues.

Longtime scout Jerry Penkala, owner and operator of JTF Academy, a well-known recruiting management service, provided SoccerWire with a rundown of 11 players from ECNL clubs who stood out the most during his time watching the action in Richmond.

Continue reading for a look at Penkala’s ECNL standouts. To view more top performers from the Jefferson Cup, check out SoccerWire’s ‘Players That Impressed‘.

Elizabeth Thornton


Northern Virginia Alliance ’07 – Jersey #31

This 6’2 prototype keeper and Wake Forest commit showed why she was one of the best keepers I saw all weekend. Calm, great foot distribution and made a couple of full extension saves against a strong STA 07 team.

Virginia Union FC ’07 – Jersey #7

A lightning fast, feisty, strong left winger that used her left and right foot when servicing into the box after winning the end line, or putting her one of her rocket shots on frame. The UVA commit had at least 4 or 5 perfect crosses that went all the way thru the box on the ground that if any of her teammates got a tap on would have been easy assists, plus she also fought back and showed an incredible work rate all weekend long.

Cali O’Neill


NC Courage Academy ’08 – Jersey #61

One of two very good center backs for this extremely talented NC Courage team. Cali was calm and smooth on the ball all game, completely literally 100% of her passes against a very good World Class team, and completely controlled the back line.

Brennan Moore – Center Back (2027)
NC Courage Academy ’08 – Jersey #67

The other talented center back for the very talented NC Courage 08 team, I was shocked to see that she is only a 2027 based on her size, athleticism and overall skillset. She was the more offensive center back of the duo, and got forward whenever possible as the WCFC team played 10 behind the ball all game, and was impactful whenever she did. She is a Player to Watch for the 2027 class.


Reese Power – Center Back (2025)
HEX FC ’07 – Jersey #4

This center back was strong, has great size and athleticism and was the best player in the air I saw all weekend. Tough, completed most of her passes all weekend and kept her back line organized and tight.


Cara Petry – Outside Back (2025)
Cleveland Force ’07 – Jersey #11

You could tell Cara has been tested day in and day out by having to train against teammates Hannah Pachan (Virginia Tech) and Reagan Pentz (Vanderbilt) commits. She was a shutdown right outside back all weekend that had speed, toughness and great 1v1 defensive form.


Nina Cantor – Winger (2025)
Penn Fusion ’07 – Jersey #14

I have seen this left wing play a few times now, and she has always jumped out as a high level prospect. Smart, extremely fast and has a great left and right footed shot anywhere near the 18.


Briana Bartsch – Outside Back (2026)
Penn Fusion ’07 – Jersey #3

This right back was the overall best defender I saw all weekend and she is only a 2026. Great speed and has outstanding natural timing instincts on when to step in for a tackle, and the hardest working defender at Jeff Cup. She completely shut down the entire right side of the field in both games I saw her play.


Ella Pomaranski – Midfielder (2026)
Fairfax Brave ’07 – Jersey #13

This athletic, creative, technically sound midfielder had the entire game go through her, and was one of the most impactful younger offensive players at this event.


Ellie Kocher – Forward / Midfielder (2026)
Penn Fusion ’08 – Jersey #14

Ellie was an absolute offensive terror all weekend long. Her speed, size and rocket shot that tested keepers from all over the field made her dangerous every time she touched the ball. Her work rate getting back if she lost the ball made a huge impact as well.


Hailey Jones – Forward (2026)
NC Fusion ’07 – Jersey #28

This 2026 playing up was a handful all weekend, and had defenses showing her extra attention each game, and if they didn’t, her speed up top, strength and ability to finish punished the team’s she played. She might be one of the better scorers in the 2026 class.

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