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Players That Impressed Apr 23, 2024

Players That Impressed: ECNL Boys 2024 Texas National Event

The ECNL Boys held their latest National Event of the 2023-24 season over the weekend in Round Rock, Texas. ECNL Texas featured 185 teams from across the league’s U16-U17 age groups (Results).

Below are some of the top players from the weekend’s event sorted by graduation year. You can also nominate a player who stood out during the event through the following link.


Cross Horton

Defender Midfielder

Provided consistent coverage along the defensive line for Texans Academy in their 1-0 victory over Mustang SC, making multiple key clears down the stretch. Horton can take what sees on the pitch and immediately put it into action, whether it is impeding opponent’s advances or finding gaps to make crisp passes out of the back.

Nathan Peeler | Goalkeeper
Association FC 08 (CA)

Earned three shutouts to lift Association to the top of the 2008 ECNL Texas standings (3-0-0, 9 points). Peeler’s ability to control the pace of the match was on full display as he key saves in Association’s victories over Dallas Texans (3-0), Phoenix Rising (2-0), and FC Wichita (7-0). The Nor Cal PDP and Cal North ODP member has excellent glove work and can fire long throws out to teammates on the wings, setting up possessions and counter-attacking chances.


Caden Schumacher | Midfielder
BVB IA 07 (TX)

While under significant pressure all weekend, Schumacher and the BVB defense thrived limiting opponents to just two goals in their three victories (3-1 over Palm Beach Gardens, 4-1 over LA Breakers FC, and 2-0 over B-Elite DEN).Working through the defensive midfield, Schumacher closed out passing lanes and was up for making close, difficult tackles in tight spaces. He also showed a knack for leading possessions, slowing down or speeding up play depending upon the situation.


Delfino Martinez | Forward
San Francisco Elite Academy 07 (CA)

Propelled the high-scoring San Francisco attack to eleven goals in three days, the second most goals among all 2007 teams. Martinez has an explosive first touch that he can use to either lay a pinpoint pass in for a teammate or hammer a shot on target. His work up top led San Francisco to victories over Lonestar SC Black (6-0) and El Paso Locomotive Academy (4-1).


Hunter Sauser


Led an attacking corps that scored eight goals over the course of the weekend, leading the Texans to victories over Santa Rosa United (4-1) and New Mexico Rush (4-0). He also played a key role in the National Selection Game for the East and helped push the game into extratime.

Gonzalo Gurrola | Goalkeeper
San Diego Surf 07 (CA)

Earned Player of the Match honors for the West in the National Selection Game, making back-to-back saves in penalty kicks to help them earn the 4-2 win. For his club team Surf he was equally effective, co-captaining the team to a tough 2-1 win over Santa Rosa United on matchday one. At 6’3″ Gurrola, is a physical force between the posts for Surf and can make the difficult saves look easy. He has previously trialed with the San Diego Loyal of the USL Championship and was a member of Surf’s National Championship run.


Devon Garza | Left Back
Solar SC Academy 07 (TX)

Operating out of the left back position, Garza led an imposing backline that surrendered just two goals throughout the weekend. Garza’s speed and dynamic first touch allow for Solar to play wide and create attacking chances from the outside. As captain, he also led by example pulling his team out of multiple jams in their victory over B-Elite DEN (4-0) and their 1-1 draw against San Diego Surf. He also buried his penalty kick chance for the West in the National Selection Game, lifting them 4-2.


Matthew Rodriguez | Forward-Midfielder
Albion Hurricanes 07 (TX)

Scored five goals and tallied two assists for the Hurricanes helping them earn victories over El Paso Locomotive Academy (5-0) and Davis Legacy (2-1). Rodriguez can multiple positions on the attack and can use his speed and pace to control the tempo of the match. While he certainly has a nose for goal, he can also lay off and deliver quality passes in open space for his teammates to capitalize on.


Liam Johnston | Goalkeeper
West Coast FC 07 (CA)

Allowed just two goals during West Coast’s Showcase weekend, highlighted by a stellar shutout draw on matchday one against MVLA. He has excellent vision and can time his throws and punts perfectly so that they give his teammates the optimal chance retaining possession. In one-on-one situations with attackers, he has excellent technique and gives opponent’s little space to hit a shot on target. After earning All-Conference Second Team honors last season, he has helped West Coast pull out to a 7-4-4 record on 25 points.


Jackson Stubbs | Defender

Organized a tight, consistent backline through two major victories over New Mexico Rush (3-2) and B-Elite DEN (2-0) while grinding out a 2-2 draw with Santa Clara Sporting. Stubbs was equally effective in the National Selection Game, starting for the West and holding back a potent East attack for large portions of the match. With the ball at his feet, Stubbs can build possession out of the back, using his quick thinking and excellent communication skills to find teammates in open spaces.


Ronan Rattigan | Defender
Mustang SC 07 (CA)

Held SAFC (1-0) scoreless in their final matchday to give Mustang their second win in as many days. The Mustangs captain was equally effective in their victory over West Coast FC (2-1), clearing out dangerous balls inside the eighteen yard box. Rattigan’s constant work at maintaining their shape helped Mustangs retain possession for long portions of each match and forced their opponents to chase.


Baka Kante | Midfielder-Forward
Kansas Rush RL 06 (KS)

The two-time All-American and Virginia commit captained Rush to an undefeated record down in Rock Round (2-0-1, 7 points). Kante can take even the smallest of spaces in defenses and exploit them, tearing through backlines with his punishing runs deep into the box. He is coming off of a high school career with Rockhurst in which he led the team to three high school state titles, scored 37 goals, and added 44 assists. Rush have just started their Heartland Conference campaign (6-1-1, 19 points) and will undoubtedly use their positive experience in Texas to help prepare themselves for the stretch run.