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Sep 08, 2012

Richmond Strikers, Virginia Rush: A new ECNL season begins

By Jimmy LaRoue

With the opening weekend of the Elite Clubs National League season for many of its teams, I headed out to catch the Under-14 through U-18 matchups between the Richmond Strikers and Virginia Rush.

I saw evidence of some opening-day rust being kicked off, but also some moments of quality soccer, and if I have just one takeaway for now, it’s this:

There’s a reason why we selected Elizabeth Ball as a player to watch. The U-17 Richmond Strikers star scored twice and set up two more goals in their 5-0 win.

But she’s not the only one that was out there today that wants to make a name for herself.

The U-14 players for both teams have only now just begun their ECNL journey, getting their first taste of league play. In this matchup, Virginia Rush won 3-0 over the Richmond Strikers, though the Strikers, as they got into the flow of the match, improved their play in the second half.

Rush also won the U-15 matchup, breaking open a scoreless game with three second half goals in the space of three minutes and also winning 3-0.

The U-16, U-17 and U-18 matches also ended in shutouts, but those went in favor of the Richmond Strikers.

The U-16 Strikers opened the day with a 2-0 win, and we’ve already talked about Ball and the U-17s. In the U-18 match, the Strikers took a 3-0 win to open the season.

We’ll have more coverage from this slate of matches, as well as the weekend slate of ECNL and Development Academy matches, but for now, check out just a hint of what Ball can do. This came from earlier this year, on Feb. 11 against Freestate Soccer Alliance.