Frequently Asked Questions about ECNL and Girls Academy
What is Elite Clubs National League?
The ECNL was founded in 2009 by forward-thinking Directors of Coaching across the country who saw a need for change in and special commitment to improving the daily environment for American elite female youth soccer players. These Directors came together and collaborated to build what would become the top female youth development platform in the world. The grass roots leadership and cooperation was unprecedented in American youth soccer, and the ECNL continues to be the most progressive and innovative development platform in the country.
What is the US Soccer Girls Academy?
U.S. Soccer started the Development Academy Program to improve long-term player and coach development. After studying player development models domestically and internationally, U.S. Soccer collaborated with elite soccer clubs across the nation to create a program to provide the proper environment by emphasizing quality training and limited meaningful competition.
Which league is better?
At the Michigan Hawks, we believe that every player has an individual pathway that depends on their goals and motivations. We are very fortunate to have had years to navigate both the Elite Clubs National League on the girls side and the US Developmental Academy through our Wolves.
The ECNL has been the top league in the country for almost a decade and has helped our club and our players reach new heights.
The Girls Academy is under the US Soccer federation umbrella. They have the resources to create a league that has the potential to rival the quality of the ECNL. We are delighted to be one of the handful of clubs in the country with access to both great leagues.
How much will each league cost?
ECNL costs for the 2016-2017 season were $2800. We do not anticipate the costs to deviate much from our current fee structure. Fees depend on many variables including:
- whether the player is partipating in a 10 month season or playing high school
- number of weekly training sessions
- cost of indoor field rentals
Costs are all inclusive and cover all club/coaching fees, league/game fees, tournament entry / coaches travel, and training costs. Costs do not cover individual travel expenses and uniform costs. The actual cost is determined by the number of players on the team roster. We provide full disclosure of all team expenses.
Do players have to give up high school?
While the Girls Academy mandates that all full time players can only take part in their designated Academy team activities, the ECNl doesn’t have such mandates. Players do not need to forgo high school to play for one of the top leagues in the country.
This is another factor in choosing the league that best fits a player’s needs.
Can players do both?
Academy players cannot participate in any ECNL matches or events. They can however take advantage of training opportunities within the Hawks.
ECNL players may train and play in the Academy if they are designated on the roster as “Development players”
What age groups are involved?
The ECNL will have 6 age groups:
- U13 (05 birth year) No national championship
- U14 (04 birth year)
- U15 (03 birth year)
- U16 (02 birth year)
- U17 (01 birth year)
- U19 (99/00 birth years)
Girls Academy will have 4 groups:
- U14 (04 birth year) No national championship
- U15 (03 birth year) No national championship
- U17 (Combined 01/02 birth years)
- U19 (combined 99/00 birth years)
What is the roster size?
The Michigan Hawks are the only club in Michigan to belong to both the ECNL and the Development Academy. We are therefore able to provide all our top teams and players with an opportunity to compete in one of top leagues in the country.
Our roster sizes will allow every team member to enjoy the training ratio, the competition and the exposure they need.