More DA club defections to ECNL

Empty CUP

Member
REAL Colorado and NC Courage pull out along with UFA in Georgia and the Dallas Texans to join the ECNL. I would expect a few more this season as well. That makes 25 teams that have left the DA in the first 3 years. Greater level of competition and more recruiting opportunities have been the common theme from those leaving. The REAL director said “The ECNL is a better environment for the overall development of our athletes"

Ouch...
 

BASESWIMPARENT

Well-known member
What are the differences in the two orgs and does either one or both have a relationship with the pro league? I am just asking as I have become a big fan of the USWNT.
 
Outside of being able to play HS, as well as substitution rules, there's not a big difference. Both play about 9 months/year. DA trains 4 days/week as opposed to 3 for ECNL. Level of play seems to depend on the region of the country (I'd say it's leaning toward the ECNL with all the defections)
 

BASESWIMPARENT

Well-known member
Outside of being able to play HS, as well as substitution rules, there's not a big difference. Both play about 9 months/year. DA trains 4 days/week as opposed to 3 for ECNL. Level of play seems to depend on the region of the country (I'd say it's leaning toward the ECNL with all the defections)
I thought that some DAs were allowing high school soccer (like in Virginia?) But neither have any relationship with the pro league. Thank you for your reply.
 
Outside of being able to play HS, as well as substitution rules, there's not a big difference. Both play about 9 months/year. DA trains 4 days/week as opposed to 3 for ECNL. Level of play seems to depend on the region of the country (I'd say it's leaning toward the ECNL with all the defections)
Those are HUGE differences. Do ECNL teams have the same amount of travel. I’m hearing from DA parents that they are driving 6-8 hrs one way for ONE game multiple times per season. That doesn’t seem to make sense. I can’t imagine driving that far with the potential that your kid may not play at all or might play very limited minutes due to subbing rules.
 
There are substantial travel for both ECNL and DA clubs for regular season, showcases, and playoffs. A few times a season games are too far to drive so you must fly. This is not a cheap sport at this level so if cost or time spent on the road isn’t for you then look elsewhere. For those that stick with it there can be great pressure to land a nice scholarship to offset the overall cost. Some players get substantial scholarships and it works out great - others land at Elite soccer colleges and go onto play professionally. It’s still the best way to make it big into the next level with either club. ECNL is best if your kid wants to play HS and play at the highest level at showcases for maximum exposure. Some quit the DA after they get a commitment.
 
Could be a lot of "defections" if it's true the Federation will terminate the DA.
Sounds like the rumors are getting stronger. MLS academies want to do their own thing. The DA's cost a lot more $$ than they generate, which means the USWNT lawsuit is a great excuse to nix both the girls and boys side.

 
Sounds like the rumors are getting stronger. MLS academies want to do their own thing. The DA's cost a lot more $$ than they generate, which means the USWNT lawsuit is a great excuse to nix both the girls and boys side.

I’m curious what costs US Soccer has. Do they pay the clubs/coaches/trainers etc.? Seems like the parents would have the most cost in all of this?
 

5x26

Member
That's a damn tough situation. I'm sorry for the girls and coaches impacted by this. Hopefully all these girls find teams appropriate for them.
 

dumsoccerfan

New member
Will OE play nice and allow CUP or KHA or TFA to join ECNL? A dayton team? I am going to guess the way we have destroyed the economy there will be much more support for regional (close) travel this would offer more proximity competition
 

5x26

Member
Unliklely. Cities with massive population like Chicago that is 5x Cincy or Detroit that is twice our size have 1 club in each city. They don't want to dilute the talent of the league with NL/MRL type clubs and with more of the truly talented clubs coming back across the nation the cap on clubs has to be near. Surf just announced today they are rejoining. Just my take.
 
Indy has Indy Fire and FC Pride. CUP will be fine. They'll go back to dominating the National League, if they don't join this:
 

Empty CUP

Member
Any idea what CUP is going too do?
Struggle!

This situation is tragic as a whole, but if you paid attention this was all coming for years. Day 1 the DA and the ECNL were maybe on near equal footing. The ECNL had a strong history of of success. and the DA had bottomless funds and well it's US Soccer. It went south quickly from there.

Through all the tragedy of kids and parents not wanting to believe what their gut strongly was telling them the last 18 months the DA failed. Everyone with clear eyes saw it happening, there is only so much blame to place. You can't lose the very thing that makes you successful (high quality teams) by the fistful every year and maintain the illusion of being a top league. But to really look at it closer, Sampson not only beat Goliath but did so in Epic fashion. That's a success story that will get lost in the muddied waters. Through this the ECNL has gotten stronger than ever and defeated U.S. Soccer at it's own game!! There are clubs looking in from the outside now realizing what a tragic mess they created for their kids and parents by joining in the first place. So my hats off to Winnagle, Lavers, Bracken and the rest of the board at the ECNL. They have chosen the right teams all along to join and accept back. So if your feelings are hurt that CUP was not accepted realize that these people simply know more than you what they are doing, seriously they took down U.S. Soccer....
 

BASESWIMPARENT

Well-known member
Is taking down US Soccer a good thing? Isn't that the organization makes the national team? I am just asking. Is MLS going to start a developmental league for the boys? Will it eventually make it to the women side? Why did the DA fail? Was it their demand that players had to skip high school soccer? I noticed that one of the three high level players at Lakota West played for the U17 national team in Florida. I watched her on TV. That was super exciting. What is the ECNL relationship with the national program? The well known LW forward was named defensive player of the year in her basketball league so I guess she did not go to any national camps in December and January? Did she do anything with her club team during the off season? One other question, can anybody explain what this equal pay lawsuit is all about? I have heard that the men's and women's team had different style of contracts. What are the women's team trying to achieve? Do you think that it will reduce the US soccer support for the U17 type teams? Will US soccer go bankrupt? Will the men's team have to take a pay cut? I am just puzzled because I hear all this animosity between ECNL and the DA especially in the women's program and I wonder if helps or hurts the national program. Any help with any of these questions and I would appreciate it. Thanks
 

Empty CUP

Member
Make no mistake, U.S. Soccers plan was to fold the ECNL and punish teams who did not "pay to play". For years the ECNL was dominating girls soccer and tried from everything I've read and heard to work with U.S. Soccer to join forces. Back when my middle daughter was at college recruiting age is when the DA came rolling through. She was on CUP Gold and they came in trying to take every ECNL club they could. And they took about half the great ones. it was being sold to us by the powers that be, they would be putting the ECNL under, and that the only path to YNT squads and high level college recruiting was through them. They were going to stop recognizing the United Soccer Coaches licenses, and to "expect the ECNL, Ohio Elite and other like clubs to fold in a year".

The CUP 02's went to Frisco with BP, dominated, came back and 2/3rds of the team quit CUP and went to OE, choosing not to play DA or "pre" DA. Shocking after the run they had the years leading up and at that point BP was still with CDA, in hind sight that was a wise group of kids and parents though if memory serves I think one girl came back before the next season started. About that time the sh*t show of leadership issues started to occur at the new CDA that eventually turned into a dumpster fire, and they were not alone.

Within 2 months of games my niece who plays for Eclipse said the girls and coaches wanted out. The quality of play from the top 3 teams to the bottom 3 teams in the conference was so bad the game was unrecognizable. 5 months after that Indy Fire, Hawks, Eclipse (the 3 top teams in every playoff age group in the DA Midwest conference) announced they were leaving. Remember her comments about the level of play I mentioned earlier , so what does that leave? Followed by PDA, FC Stars and Virginia Development Academy a club created from many clubs just to play in the DA, and LAFC Slammers that just won the first DA National Championship and a few others all going back to the ECNL.

The backfill teams for those that left got worse, good clubs left out of the first DA group were turning the DA down, so the power play of just going after kids from DA teams for YNT squads regardless of skill became more and more apparent, but they were bringing in clubs that were barely successful in MRL type leagues (not taking anything away from SD or KD locally, they were awesome) The level of play in the DA was getting worse and worse and the rift U.S. Soccer was creating was getting bigger and bigger and not just in the attack of the ECNL. That next year more top teams left the DA, and the death cycle continued. U.S. Soccer has never looked out for the best interest of the kids. look at the birth year, the build out lines, header rules, national team placement et al. This year prior to the closure more top teams that I posted about earlier in this thread were leaving for ECNL. Most have the number 1 overall teams in various age groups as did most of the clubs that left before them. Why did all these storied clubs in Youth soccer run, not walk away from the DA? Being just a parent and bystander I can only imagine the true drama behind the scenes with U.S. Soccer,

Now if you can correctly challenge me on any of the stuff above please feel free, I've been wrong before and willing to admit it. But U.S. Soccer is not the sweet little chubby mommy everyone wants to cuddle up with, this bit*h will swing wire hangers at you.
 
A lot of questions, but here we go.

Is taking down US Soccer a good thing? Isn't that the organization makes the national team?
From the beginning, the USSDA wasn't setup for success, especially on the girl's side. The ECNL was already there. Why create "another" system when it was clear that ECNL was doing its job.

The USSDA existed since 2007 for boys and 2017 for girls. What did it truly accomplish in that timespan that we can claim that it was a good thing?

Development still happens, it did happen, and it will continue to happen without the USSDA.

Is MLS going to start a developmental league for the boys?
Yes, MLS announced their youth system a mere 12 minutes after the USSDA announcement hit. There will be non-MLS academy teams in the system, so MLS claims.

Will it eventually make it to the women side?
That is currently unknown. I know some MLS sides have been talking about it.

Why did the DA fail? Was it their demand that players had to skip high school soccer?
Rising costs. Large area to cover. Lack of success. No ROI for the USSF -- they spent over $30m in the last 3+ years for the USSDA. They aren't recouping that money. It was a $7m loss in FY20 and projected $8m loss in FY21.

Some MLS clubs didn't like the gaps that were existing, at times, from non-MLS academies.

What is the ECNL relationship with the national program?
The relationship exists nearly the same as the USSDA had. There are scouts and NT staff that continuously look for the best talent and give feedback.

Did she do anything with her club team during the off season?
Yes. There was club involvement. May have been limited, but there was club involvement.

One other question, can anybody explain what this equal pay lawsuit is all about?
The USWNT believe they aren't being paid a fair wage compared to the men AND the revenue that they bring into USSF.

What are the women's team trying to achieve?
They want more money.

Do you think that it will reduce the US soccer support for the U17 type teams?
Those are already being scaled back. They have been -- there's been numerous teams that do not have a coach for months. Add in this pandemic, there is another cut in the support for youth teams.

Will US soccer go bankrupt?
No. Although, for some them going bankrupt isn't necessarily bad. It's been poorly mismanaged for years. The Federation had a $150m bankroll, supposedly. That's quickly dwindled with their mismanagement and the lawsuits (yes, there are multiple ongoing).

Will the men's team have to take a pay cut?
Doubtful, right now. There truly is no reason they should.

I am just puzzled because I hear all this animosity between ECNL and the DA especially in the women's program and I wonder if helps or hurts the national program.
The animosity is only due to USSF starting up a rival to ECNL, instead of jumping on-board and ushering along a system that was already doing a fine job for the USWNT. Notice when USSDA started for the girls (2017)? What did ECNL do? Started ECNL Boys in 2017.

In my opinion, competition isn't a bad thing. But, is there truly a reason why the US needs a national league for youth? What sense does it make to fly 13-17 year olds around the whole country? They don't need that to compete and develop. There have been systems in place before, as I mentioned. Some of the positives that the USSDA did bring should have always been there -- basically, making the youth development scene more "professional" in operations.

In the end, poor leadership has existed in USSF for way too long. It's going to continue. We will see floundering around for years to come, especially with 7-8 (I believe is the number) lawsuits that are currently out there.
 
This is not in response to any specific post above.

It seems to me that right now boys/men that are the absolute best in the country at the sport of soccer can legitimately seek an end goal of playing professionally and making a lot of money doing so. The really top, top US men can play overseas and make really, really good money and then even more a cut below can make a lot of money playing MLS soccer. As the MLS grows, the contracts should increase and hopefully will attract and retain the best players in the world, not just the very best from the U.S.

It makes sense then to me for each MLS franchise to have a youth program separate from US soccer to build and develop future players. If MLS needs to add a few teams here and there to cut down on travel and to give the MLS youth teams enough competition, it only makes sense to do that. An example would be a team in greater Cleveland that would play in this youth MLS league.

Below these MLS leagues could be leagues that boys/men play in that leads to these players getting college scholarships for soccer or play college soccer at DI and DII schools (assuming colleges keep funding men's soccer). Obviously there will be cases of players from these leagues eventually playing in the MLS and higher and players that played for MLS youth teams that never panned out on the pro level.

Club leagues below these two mentioned above continue to exist for the reasons they exist today.


Now, the girls/women side is different of course and those that know more, please feel free to chime in. I am a father of 5 girls and I coach girl's high school soccer. Having said that, men and women are different, especially when it comes to sports.

The NWSL pays peanuts compared to MLS average salaries and I assume oversea's women's leagues are also not comparable to their men league counterparts, if they exist at all. The NWSL could fold any day now and most in the US would not even notice. The NWSL does poorly revenue wise and that is why they pay their players less. It is not because they are women.

Because of this girl/women soccer players that are the absolute best in the country at the sport of soccer seek a different end goal. Their end goal is getting a DI scholarship and in some cases for the top, top players - a chance to play for the USWNT.

It does not make sense for each NWSL to have a youth program. US soccer helps keep the NWSL alive and provides a place for their USWNT players to play in a league state side. US soccer no doubt loses money on women's soccer on the whole or turns a very small overall profit. That is what US Women's Soccer is not a separate entity from US Men's Soccer, its just US Soccer. The lawsuit for "equal pay" may well result in US soccer saying - "go split off and survive on your own if you are unhappy with the piece of pie you receive each year".

Point is, I could see why US soccer thought it would be good to start the DA program for girls but they obviously went about it in the wrong manner and had some rules that really rubbed many the wrong way. Much, if not all of what they wanted to accomplish was already being done by the ECNL and other club leagues. Girls/women that were the best of the best were getting DI and DII scholarships and the best of those players were making up a USWNT that was the best women's team in the world for 20 years.

If the MLS continues to grow in popularity state side and it makes sense for those that own their own stadium, I can see some MLS teams creating a women's side. For FCC, for example, it might makes sense for there to be a FCCW team that would train in Milford and play at the West End Stadium on the off nights when the MLS side is off, traveling or playing in another venue. The stadium is just sitting there other wise. Now, there are 26 and counting MLS teams and only 9 (most of them on life support) NWSL teams so it would not make sense any time soon to make every MLS team also have a women's side and it would make even less sense for these MLS franchises to have girls/women's youth programs. Keep it they way it is today, no DA but have ECNL and other existing leagues that have for the last 20 years produced plenty of talented women that ultimately received DI and DII college offers with the truly elite of those making the USWNT that has dominated the world.
 
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If the MLS continues to grow in popularity state side and it makes sense for those that own their own stadium, I can see some MLS teams creating a women's side. For FCC, for example, it might makes sense for there to be a FCCW team that would train in Milford and play at the West End Stadium on the off nights when the MLS side is off, traveling or playing in another venue. The stadium is just sitting there other wise. Now, there are 26 and counting MLS teams and only 9 (most of them on life support) NWSL teams so it would not make sense any time soon to make every MLS team also have a women's side and it would make even less sense for these MLS franchises to have girls/women's youth programs. Keep it they way it is today, no DA but have ECNL and other existing leagues that have for the last 20 years produced plenty of talented women that ultimately received DI and DII college offers with the truly elite of those making the USWNT that has dominated the world.
What's your data on "grow in popularity state side"?
 

BASESWIMPARENT

Well-known member
I get the sense that the men are kind of looking at the women sideways about this equal pay thing. If the pot of money is the same for men and women and the developmental teams, what happens if the women get more? Do the men get less? Do they cut the developmental teams? I kind of look at the unexpected consequence of title IX. Men's programs got cut. Wrestling, men's track, men's swimming... gone. Women's opportunities did not grow to meet the men, the men's programs were eliminated to back up to the women. That s why I asked if the men will get a potential pay cut out of this lawsuit?
 
To circle back around to your question (@BASESWIMPARENT), I read an attorney mention the equal pay lawsuit for USWNT against USSF. He's an excellent sports law attorney. He mentioned that if the USWNT won all it's asking for at trial, it could in fact pressure USSF into declaring bankruptcy.

But, that does not mean USSF is going anywhere. We saw that with USA Gymnastics, as they declared bankruptcy, but did not give up its status as a governing body. So, it could be curious if USWNT look to settle to prevent something like this happening.

Additionally, it is floating around that USSF received money from the "small business bailout" that the government tied into this stimulus during the pandemic. That causes MAJOR issues.
 
Make no mistake, U.S. Soccers plan was to fold the ECNL and punish teams who did not "pay to play". For years the ECNL was dominating girls soccer and tried from everything I've read and heard to work with U.S. Soccer to join forces. Back when my middle daughter was at college recruiting age is when the DA came rolling through. She was on CUP Gold and they came in trying to take every ECNL club they could. And they took about half the great ones. it was being sold to us by the powers that be, they would be putting the ECNL under, and that the only path to YNT squads and high level college recruiting was through them. They were going to stop recognizing the United Soccer Coaches licenses, and to "expect the ECNL, Ohio Elite and other like clubs to fold in a year".

The CUP 02's went to Frisco with BP, dominated, came back and 2/3rds of the team quit CUP and went to OE, choosing not to play DA or "pre" DA. Shocking after the run they had the years leading up and at that point BP was still with CDA, in hind sight that was a wise group of kids and parents though if memory serves I think one girl came back before the next season started. About that time the sh*t show of leadership issues started to occur at the new CDA that eventually turned into a dumpster fire, and they were not alone.

Within 2 months of games my niece who plays for Eclipse said the girls and coaches wanted out. The quality of play from the top 3 teams to the bottom 3 teams in the conference was so bad the game was unrecognizable. 5 months after that Indy Fire, Hawks, Eclipse (the 3 top teams in every playoff age group in the DA Midwest conference) announced they were leaving. Remember her comments about the level of play I mentioned earlier , so what does that leave? Followed by PDA, FC Stars and Virginia Development Academy a club created from many clubs just to play in the DA, and LAFC Slammers that just won the first DA National Championship and a few others all going back to the ECNL.

The backfill teams for those that left got worse, good clubs left out of the first DA group were turning the DA down, so the power play of just going after kids from DA teams for YNT squads regardless of skill became more and more apparent, but they were bringing in clubs that were barely successful in MRL type leagues (not taking anything away from SD or KD locally, they were awesome) The level of play in the DA was getting worse and worse and the rift U.S. Soccer was creating was getting bigger and bigger and not just in the attack of the ECNL. That next year more top teams left the DA, and the death cycle continued. U.S. Soccer has never looked out for the best interest of the kids. look at the birth year, the build out lines, header rules, national team placement et al. This year prior to the closure more top teams that I posted about earlier in this thread were leaving for ECNL. Most have the number 1 overall teams in various age groups as did most of the clubs that left before them. Why did all these storied clubs in Youth soccer run, not walk away from the DA? Being just a parent and bystander I can only imagine the true drama behind the scenes with U.S. Soccer,

Now if you can correctly challenge me on any of the stuff above please feel free, I've been wrong before and willing to admit it. But U.S. Soccer is not the sweet little chubby mommy everyone wants to cuddle up with, this bit*h will swing wire hangers at you.
That's about the best thought out explanation I've seen, describing the DA's slide to demise, on any forum.
 

coachg

Active member
The animosity is only due to USSF starting up a rival to ECNL, instead of jumping on-board and ushering along a system that was already doing a fine job for the USWNT. Notice when USSDA started for the girls (2017)? What did ECNL do? Started ECNL Boys in 2017.

In my opinion, competition isn't a bad thing. But, is there truly a reason why the US needs a national league for youth? What sense does it make to fly 13-17 year olds around the whole country? They don't need that to compete and develop. There have been systems in place before, as I mentioned. Some of the positives that the USSDA did bring should have always been there -- basically, making the youth development scene more "professional" in operations.

In the end, poor leadership has existed in USSF for way too long. It's going to continue. We will see floundering around for years to come, especially with 7-8 (I believe is the number) lawsuits that are currently out there.
I agree with many of the points you have made in this answer but I will add the local ECNL Club has blocked attempts by other local clubs to join the ECNL. Some say it will "water down" the teams locally but I disagree. With Cincinnati having such a large per capita of youth players there is a enough talent to support two ECNL teams per age group but the adults in the room will not play nicely together and its the kids that suffer. Its a long history going back to the formation of OE and how they "bought" their way in and questionably acquired a team or two. On the other side a few local clubs tried to block them from forming. So fast forward to today and many of the same people are in both clubs and refuse to play nice even if it would benefit the kids. It boils down to two things - Ego's and money.
 
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