What is the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL)?

The Elite Clubs National League, Inc. is a 501 c(3) non-profit member-based organization founded in 2009 to enhance the developmental experience of male and female youth soccer players in the United States. The goal of the ECNL is to change the landscape for elite male and female soccer players in the United States through innovated, player-centered programming and to enhance the overall experience by creating a better, more enjoyable, and more successful player, coach, and club developmental model. 

2017 saw the ECNL mirror their successful model with the introduction of the ECNL Boys Program.



ECNL provides one of the best male and female youth leagues in the world. The ECNL provides the structure, competition, and showcase events that allow our players to develop into collegiate level athletes. Our current structure plus the ECNL enables us to continue to develop elite level players in the clearest and most efficient way. The ECNL will continue to help us graduate players who will go on to play at some of the best colleges in the country. Click Here to learn more about our College Recruiting Program.


How does ECNL compare to the Development Academy (DA)?

There are many different ways the ECNL differs to DA, but the main factors we consider are:

1. ECNL offers 8 age-groups from U13-U19, plus a U19 Composite age group; whereas the DA offers U12, U15, U17, U19.

2. Due to the conference alignment, travel and costs are higher on average within the DA. This is even more apparent with the shift to MLS and NON-MLS club conferences.

3. DA does not allow Middle or High School soccer participation. While we are in support of this philosophy for elite players, we are unsure if our community and culture is ready to fully embrace it as a it would require a culture shift in our market and an extremely difficult decision for players.

4. Boys ECNL provides new and expanded opportunities for boys’ players that have been previously unavailable in Tennessee.  The Boys ECNL has significantly changed the national landscape for Boys much like Girls ECNL.

5. The ECNL is the BEST platform currently available to our players in Middle TN. Period. The ECNL provides the BEST structure, competition, and Showcases possible; especially for the players who aspire to play at quality college programs.


What is TSC’s vision with its ECNL program?

Our vision is to provide a program offering the most comprehensive player and team developmental environment in Tennessee that will unite the Greater Nashville community, inspire our players, and achieve excellence. Our end goal is to provide the best training and playing environment for ALL of our players and to make sure we help them get into the best colleges in the country. Our current ECNL structure is the best platform for us to do this. We will continue to survey options each year (Mid-South, MRL, etc.) and make adjustments to better improve our options for the TSC membership.


What are TSC’s objectives with its ECNL program?

TSC has three main objectives with ECNL:

1. To attract the best players from a 75-mile radius of TSC.

2. To graduate 85% of players to Division I, II & III, NAIA & JUCO collegiate programs.

3. To produce nationally respected players, coaches, and teams.


How much does it cost to play on TSC ECNL teams?

The ECNL fee structure is reviewed annually. The fee structure incorporates travel, lodging, referee costs & field usage under one fee. All additional costs are itemized and announced prior to each season commencing.


If selected for an ECNL team at tryouts, can you be moved and placed on the ECNL Composite team through the course of the season?

Yes, if you are selected on an ECNL team at tryouts and player is clearly out of their depth, the ECNL Director has the ability to move any player for the duration of the season.


How will players be selected and when are tryouts?

TSC will not conduct ECNL-specific tryouts. All players from age groups that offer ECNL competition will tryout together and teams will be selected per standard TSC tryout processes.


How many players will be selected for a TSC ECNL team?

16 – 22 full-time players will be selected for each team. Discovery Players will also be selected on ongoing and annual basis.


Which age groups compete for TSC ECNL?

TSC fields teams identified as U13 ECNL, U14 ECNL, U15 ECNL, U16 ECNL, U17 ECNL, U19 ECNL, and U19 Composite that compete in the ECNL.


Can ECNL teams have guest players?

Only players from within TSC can be added to an ECNL roster for a TSC ECNL team unless they are previously designated as a Discovery Player. Players will be added based on their performance, ability and opportunity within the ECNL teams. Once these players are pulled into the ECNL Team for any event or game, they will remain on the roster and can play in any future ECNL events and games. The utilization of Discovery Players will be considered on an annual basis.


What is an ECNL Discovery Player?

“Discovery Player” is a player that is not a member of the ECNL Club and is not otherwise currently registered to another US Club Soccer Team. Discovery Players are allowed to participate in ECNL Competition in order to provide opportunity for additional players to participate in ECNL programming. In order to be considered a Discovery Player, a plyer must be explicitly designated as such on the ECNL Roster before such player participates in any ECNL Competition. Discovery Players are eligible to participate in the ECNL National Championship. At the Under-14, Under-15, Under-16 and Under-17 age groups, each ECNL Team may have two (2) Discovery Players on their ECNL Roster at each age group. At the Under-19 age group, each ECNL team may have four (4) Discovery Players on their ECNL Roster. The cost to play for an ECNL Discovery Player will be set prior to the season commencing and be itemized with uniform package fee


What about playing time in Conference Play and College Showcases?

ECNL is the highest level of play for youth soccer. Playing cannot be predetermined or guaranteed for any player.

Player personnel choices and playing time are based on each player’s ability, attitude, and game circumstances.

However, ALL players selected for an ECNL team at tryouts have been selected as they have shown they can contribute to the team playing at this level and through the course of the season players will receive ample opportunities to perform and play.


How long are the games?

Game lengths per age group are:

a. U13 games consist of two 35-minute halves – 70-minute games.

b. U14, U15, U16 games consist of 40-minute halves – 80-minute games.

c. U17, U19, and Composite games consist of two 45-minute halves – 90-minute games.


Why do we have to travel so far?

As the competition increases, teams have to travel to play the best competition. TSC select events based on our location, club soccer season, and TN high school season. Events attended can rotate each year at the discretion of the ECNL Director and team coach; for the benefit of each team.


Why do TSC Girls ECNL teams play in the Ohio Valley Conference?

Due to TN Girls High School being in the Fall, the ECNL have worked with us to ensure that the ECNL Conference Schedule does not disrupt our club culture and does not restrict players from playing High School Soccer if so desired.


Why do TSC Boys ECNL teams play in the South East Conference?

Due to TN Boys High School being in the Spring, the ECNL have worked with us to ensure that the ECNL Conference Schedule does not disrupt our club culture and does not restrict players from playing High School Soccer if so desired.


My child wants to play college in TN. Why do they need to travel so far to play?

College coaches from across the country attend each ECNL event. Colleges coaches from TN will travel across the country to watch the players compete. The college coaches want to be able to evaluate player’s competing against the best competition.

Why does TSC have the ECNL players travel as teams for events and away games?

The purpose is to provide the players a college-like environment and experience which will benefit them when they move on to the college level and additionally will limit the costs incurred by each ECNL team member and family. Our intention is to introduce the players to all aspects of college play the elite youth soccer level.


Is there any fundraising by TSC for the ECNL Program?

TSC holds fundraisers throughout the year for ALL Programs; ALL money raised is applied to their respective program costs for the 2020-2021 season.


Where will TSC ECNL teams train and play home games?

TSC ECNL teams will train three to four times per week in TSC Williamson locations; primarily at our home ECNL site Trinity Park and with additional practices & games at Williamson County Soccer Complex. There will also be occasional use of various other facilities in Greater Nashville.


How often do TSC ECNL teams travel?

Playing on a TSC ECNL team requires significant commitment. Teams travel approximately 10-12 times per year with mostly regional travel and some national travel.


Can my child still play ODP if he/she makes an ECNL Team?

The ECNL does not impose restrictions on players to prevent them from participating in any other identification program. Many players that participate in the ECNL may participate in USYS, ODP or other identification programs, and some players that participate in the ECNL will not participate in USYS, ODP or other identification programs.  These choices will be made by individual players according to their own interest and desires.


Can I play for a TSC ECNL team AND my high school soccer team?

Yes, TSC ECNL players can play on their high school teams. ECNL games and showcase events will precedence over other activities when there is a scheduling conflict.


Can I play for a TSC ECNL team AND my middle school team?

TSC ECNL players my participate on a middle school team. However, due to the significant commitment to training, games, and showcase events; TSC ECNL is the priority. This ECNL rule is subject for approval by the ECNL Director.


Can I play for a TSC ECNL team and participate in other sports?

U13 through U19 TSC ECNL players may participate in other sports. However, understand that due to the required commitment to training, games, and ECNL Showcases, TSC must be the priority. This ECNL rule is subject for approval by the ECNL Director.


Are players required to live in the Greater Nashville area to play for TSC ECNL teams?

No, players are not required to live in the Greater Nashville Area. In fact, TSC ECNL are looking to attract the best players from a 75-mile radius of the Greater Nashville Area. However, all players must realize the significant commitment required to play for a TSC ECNL Team with three to four training sessions per week in addition to games and travel.

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