Third season of CCL PRO23 set to kickoff this weekend
(Via CCL) – Club Champions League (CCL) is set to kick off the third annual season of CCL PRO23 this weekend, June 2-3.
Beginning in the summer of 2016 with 18 teams, the CCL PRO23 league has seen major growth, with 41 teams participating in the 2018 season.
The CCL PRO23 league completes the pyramid in the CCL developmental model. It provides current and former collegiate players a place to train and compete during the summer months, but it also functions as an outlet for youth players, giving them access to a higher level of competition. Additionally, it serves to build a sense of community around CCL member clubs—graduating players are invited back to the club’s that helped them develop, and inspire young players to reach the top of the pyramid. Following an exciting 2017 season, we followed up with last year’s champions—Beach FC Men’s PRO23 and Loudoun Women’s PRO23—to get a read on their goals and expectations for the summer.
Head coach for Beach FC, Ryan Sniegoski is eager to get started “Winning the CCL PRO23 in 2017 was a tremendous accomplishment for the players, coaches and directors involved. Starting the 2018 season, it is important to turn the page and start on a new journey. Our main goals are to develop and prepare our players for upcoming club, college and other seasons. We will prepare for each game individually but will implement ‘The Beach FC Way’ in our style of play. We cannot wait to get on the field for our first match.”
With such a strong group last year, returning players are important to build on team chemistry and ensure a strong foundation. Beach FC has made sure to keep their player retention high and maintain their competitive standard. “We have a good nucleus of players returning. We have some former college players who coach with Beach FC that give this group a sense of maturity and understanding of our style of play. We also have a great group of college players returning to Beach FC from programs like William and Mary, ODU, Virginia Wesleyan, Gardner Webb, Longwood, and Mary Washington. We also have some current Beach FC players going to play at schools like Columbia, Lynchburg and Christopher Newport along with others. Additionally, we have a very talented group of High School age players we are looking to develop and get in a high level training environment this summer.”
When asked about training leading into the weekend, and the feeling the staff had about the group, one word stuck out: competitive. “The guys are all competing and enjoying every minute of it. We need to focus on the tactical style of play a bit moving into our first game, but we are very excited about this group—it looks to be a promising bunch, ready to compete for their club.”
On the Women’s side, head coach for Loudoun, Dave Bucciero, has high expectations leading into the 2018 season, but made sure to point out the importance of focusing on player development and college preparation, “We want every player to enjoy the sessions and games, and hopefully feel a little bit sharper going into their college preseason because of their experience with our team. We also want to represent the club in a positive manner by playing an attractive brand of soccer and winning as many games as we can.”
Similar to Beach FC, Loudoun has a strong group of returning players, with some key contributors on board for the 2018 season, “We have 15 players returning from last year’s team. Emily Littell (Loudoun 95 Red/George Mason University) and Sara Deutsch (Loudoun 95 Red/College of Charleston) have been and will be continue to be key players that control the tempo of the game as central midfielders. Kennedy Jakubek (Forward, Loudoun 96 Red/Lynchburg College) is an extremely athletic player who is always a threat getting in behind defenses, and Madison Phaneuf (Defender, Loudoun 96 Red/Emory University) gives us a lot of attack coming forward as an outside back.”
The staff and the players are ready for their first matches, and excited to begin competition, Bucciero commented, “Training has been going very well. The girls have a great spirit about them and compete well in everything that we do. We have also added some new players that I think can help us and I am excited to get to know them better as we go through the season.”
The schedule can be found here: http://www.clubchampionsleague.com/schedules.