ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The St. Louis Scott Gallagher MO ECNL program recently completed “Phase 2” of the 2017-18 season which saw the U16-U19 teams finish their campaigns while the U13-U15 age groups continue into the spring.
The U19 team won their conference with an undefeated 14-0-0 record in regional play and 3-0-0 at National Showcase events with 66 goals scored and only six goals conceded. “This group continues to show consistency at the highest level in how they play the game,” said SLSG MO ECNL Director Ralph Richards. “They have been a joy to coach and I am excited to see if they can take this form into the National Finals.”
The U17 team won their conference for the first time with a 10-2-2 regional record and finished with an undefeated 8-0-1 record at National Showcase events. “This group has shown so much growth this season both on and off the field,” said Richards. “As a coach and teacher, that makes me just as proud in the girls as winning the conference title.”
“It means a lot for the club and the team because it’s so rewarding to see the hard work we’ve put into practices and games all year finally pay off,” added U17 player Hannah Higgins. “This year we can see why our coaches challenged us every day and how that has led to where we wanted to be all along, which is at the top of the Midwest Conference and competing for a National Championship.”
The U16 team finished third in the Midwest Conference with an 8-4-2 regional record and 5-1-3 at National Showcase events. The team will compete in the National Playoffs in June.
“To be able to qualify for the highest level of competition at the ECNL National Playoffs is incredible,” said U16 player Sophia Cross. “Playing against the best girls and teams in the country is what every player on this team wants. It motivates me to never stop working for my team and try to win the National Championship for the club.”
The U16 age group is most commonly known for when the recruitment process begins, and the team had over 400 college scouts come to watch during the three National Showcase events.
“While it was an honor to play in front of so many college coaches, I was full of a nervous tension,” said U16 player Ava Tankersley. “Once I relaxed and just focused on working hard for my team, I was able to play more freely.”
“Traditionally speaking, the U16 age group is one of the toughest age groups for our players,” said Richards. “The game becomes more complex and challenging due to the girls’ growth and development both physically and tactically. Also, the girls are navigating through the college recruitment process and the exposure the ECNL provides is both exciting and stressful. While this season had its ups and downs, what encourages me the most about this group is their sense of togetherness and willingness to work for one another throughout every game.”
The U15 team is currently first in the Midwest Conference with a 9-2-1 record with two games to play this spring on April 28-29 against MTA. The team also has one more National Showcase event in April.
“After a very successful fall season which ended with a ninth win against EGA, the girls came back from a short break with a new look to the roster as a few of the girls opted to play for their high schools,” said U15 Head Coach Scott McDoniel. “However, early signs are positive as the team has not skipped a beat as they head to the Arizona National Showcase and final regional matches in Minnesota.”
“It will be an honor to play in the National Playoffs against the best teams in the country,” said U15 player Kinley Brown. “It will force us to improve which is only a good thing.”
The U13 and U14 teams will both play the majority of their “Phase Two” games this spring in April and May. However, both teams were in action this past weekend with the U13 team going 3-0-0 and the U14 team going 1-0-1 during another undefeated ECNL weekend.
“I’m so proud of these girls this season,” said Richards. “Both sets of players have embraced the ECNL challenges and continue to develop and improve as individuals.”
The U14 team is currently in first place in the Midwest Conference with a fantastic chance to qualify for the National Playoffs this summer.
“The U14's continue to work hard each and every day,” said McDoniel. “It's obvious they love to compete and want to make it to the National Playoffs. I was extremely pleased with their first weekend of ECNL games against EGA where they took four points in the two matches which, I believe, will prove to be important as the rest of the season unfolds in our conference.”
The U13 team is also currently in first place in the Midwest Conference. This age group does not have an ECNL National Playoff competition and will compete in the USYSA National Championships starting with Missouri State Cup this coming June 2018.
“The U13's have come out of the winter break with energy and purpose,” added McDoniel. “Their training sessions have been intense, and it is evident the girls worked hard on their own during the winter. With a solid weekend against Eclipse and having played EGA already twice, I was pleased with how quickly the girls were able to lock teams into their own half with possession and quick repressing, and to top it off the goals we scored on the weekend were entertaining.”
For more information about the ECNL program and the upcoming game schedule, CLICK HERE.