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ECNL May 15, 2020

Northern California clubs join ECNL Boys for 2020-2021 season

RICHMOND, VA – De Anza Force, Placer United, and Santa Clara Sporting will join the new ECNL Boys Northern California Conference for the 2020-2021 season, nearly rounding out the full membership in the league for the upcoming season.

“Our relationship with NorCal Premier has provided a great pathway to the ECNL for these clubs, and they will be strong contenders in the conference in its inaugural season,” said ECNL Boys Commissioner, Jason Kutney. “We are really excited to add them, and are appreciative of the connection between the ECNL Boys and NorCal Premier that provides this pathway.”

De Anza Force was founded in 1999 and has grown to operate programming through its club and alliance partners that supports the development of over 1,800 boys in Northern California. Former FC Barcelona Academy Director and De Anza Force Technical Director, Albert Puig, helped to establish the Force culture, training methodology, and style of play that the club continues to implement across all levels, including its 77 competitive boys teams.

“We are extremely proud to be joining the ECNL Boys,” said Paul Bravo, De Anza Force Academy Director. “We believe this partnership will help us raise our standards across the club, while providing our membership with more high-level opportunities and exposure. We are grateful to the leadership at ECNL for the opportunity and look forward to a successful, long-term relationship.”

Founded in 1982 with just five teams, Placer United Soccer Club now has programs ranging from U5 Grassroots to U19 competitive levels, including 23 competitive boys teams and over 900 total players between boys and girls. With recent titles claimed in the NorCal NPL Champions League, Surf Cups, and NPL National Championship, Placer United has developed a winning team culture which has also translated in terms of player advancement. The club has seen alumni drafted into Major League Soccer, including Ryan Hollingshead (FC Dallas), Connor Hollisey (Sporting Kansas City), Seth Casiple (Portland Timbers), and Tucker Bone (Seattle Sounders), as well as a host of players who have won NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championships and Gatorade California High School Player of the Year honors.

“This groundbreaking collaboration between the ECNL Boys program and NorCal Premier League has created an environment in Northern California where the top boys clubs will play each other with promotion and relegation on the line, speaking volumes for both organizations,” said Paul O’Brien, Placer United Director of Soccer Operations. “This new ECNL environment is 110% in line with the Placer United philosophy that everyone – clubs, teams, and players – has to earn the right to play. Great job by both organizations.”

Affiliated with Sporting Clube de Portugal, Santa Clara Sporting Club was founded in 1971 out of Santa Clara, California with a rich Portuguese influence in club leadership and management. With over 300 boys in the competitive team program, Sporting has produced a number of players who have gone on to the collegiate and professional ranks while developing a wide variety of programs used to both financially subsidize costs for families and raise funds for local charities. The club’s annual “Goals For a Cure” fundraiser has raised over $400,000 for the cancer-related programming facilitated through El Camino Hospital.

“The Santa Clara Sporting Club are excited to join the ECNL Boys,” said SCSC President, Luis Azevedo. “The league will allow our players to move forward with their development, while competing and being showcased at the local, regional, and national levels.”

Additional announcements regarding league membership growth will continue through the coming weeks.