Letter from Chairman Phil Wright & CEO Kevin Payne to NPL members: Update on ENPL

Nov. 23, 2016


Dear NPL member,

As you have probably heard by now, US Club Soccer and ECNL, late last week, announced the first NPL and the first Boys ECNL Conference approved for inclusions in the new ENPL platform. The Virginia NPL and the Boys ECNL Southeast Conference will soon be joined by other NPLs and Boys ECNL Conferences across the country.

The ENPL is a unique, collaborative effort between US Club Soccer and ECNL to create the highest level of boys competition in the country sanctioned by US Club Soccer, and to bring the strengths and resources of both organizations together for positive change. There will be two pathways to qualification for the ENPL Championships: teams may qualify either from an approved NPL, or from a Boys ECNL Conference. The ECNL conferences will be developed from current ECNL members with existing boys programs. Those programs have the right to choose which pathway they prefer to follow. All teams, whether from NPL or a Boys ECNL Conference, must qualify for the ENPL Championships through regular season league play.

It’s likely there will be some difficult decisions for clubs and leagues through this process of change. We ask that all of you be patient and positive, and focus – as we are – on the great potential this platform holds for our players and our organizations. We believe that this combined and collaborative platform will improve the daily environment for everyone, increase the profile and quality of all participating platforms, and help positively change the landscape for boys soccer. In short, we think this platform will be positive for teams, clubs, leagues and for our organization as a whole.

It is expected that 7-9 NPLs, and 5-6 Boys ECNL Conferences will be part of the inaugural ENPL season. League-based qualification for the ENPL Championship events will begin in the fall of 2017, and the East and West ENPL Championships, and the ENPL Playoffs, will take place in late June and July. Competition will be held in five age groups from 14-U to 19-U.

Qualifying leagues must play a minimum number of games in their season, with no double counting of games; the league must be the primary competitive platform for the clubs and teams that participate in it; and they must abide by the competition standards, which are being developed by ENPL.

The group is consulting various youth soccer leaders, U.S. Soccer technical staff, the prospective ENPL membership and others, in order to find the right balance between rigorous standards and a reasonable level of flexibility.

The ENPL organizational committee is comprised of Sean Carey, from New England Premiership; David Richardson, from Sockers FC; Benjamin Ziemer, from NorCal Premier; Kevin Payne, CEO of US Club Soccer; Christian Lavers, Executive VP of US Club Soccer and President of ECNL; and Doug Bracken, of Ohio Elite, and Jay Howell, of Richmond United – both members of the ECNL Board.

NPLs with questions about the direction of the ENPL are encouraged to contact NPL General Manager Leo Garcia at (843) 614-4140 x13.

We appreciate your support of our collective efforts to improve the playing environment for hundreds of teams and thousands of players. With collaboration and unique vision, we can collectively change the game for the better for everyone.

With our best wishes,

SIGNATURE - Phil Wright

Phil Wright
Chairman, US Club Soccer

SIGNATURE - Kevin Payne

Kevin J. Payne
CEO, US Club Soccer