CHARLESTON, S.C. (Dec. 14, 2016) - Although new, the Elite National Premier League (ENPL) has already established prestige. With top NPLs and a growing collection of the country’s best clubs joining the Champions League-style format, the ENPL is on its way to setting a new standard in youth soccer.
The Virginia NPL was the first NPL member to be publicly welcomed to the ENPL. Shortly thereafter, the Elite Development Program, New England Premiership and New York Club Soccer League were announced as qualifying competitions. Now, the latest pair to be recognized as qualifiers are the Midwest Developmental League and Northern Illinois Soccer League (NISL).
Both are long-time fixtures of the NPL, and with that history also comes championship pedigree. During the 2016 NPL Finals, Sockers FC ’00 (NISL) and Campton United ‘97/’98 (Midwest Developmental League) won the 15-U and 18-U boys championships, respectively.
The NPL history books show a consistent presence of national champions coming from those two leagues. Since the inaugural NPL Champions Cup – since renamed the NPL Finals – in 2012, six titles have been claimed by the heartland. The only year in which a team from either league didn’t win a championship was 2014, when three secured silver finishes.
Qualifying 14-U to 19-U boys teams from the Midwest Development League, NISL and Boys ECNL Midwest Conference will advance to the ENPL Playoffs in June 2018. These teams will earn qualification to the ENPL Playoffs based on their performances throughout the regular season in their respective competitions.
By providing qualification paths for both team-based and club-based competitions, the ENPL features the best boys players in US Club Soccer. The regular season competition within each qualifier is unique and independently structured; however, all teams will be focusing on the same postseason destination: the ENPL Playoffs.
The Midwest Developmental League clubs – spanning Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – that now have ENPL playoff aspirations are: Beadling SC (PA), Campton United (IL), Cincinnati United (OH), Columbus Crew (OH), Derby City Rovers (KY), Indy Premier (IN), Internationals (OH), Madison 56ers (WI), Minnesota Thunder (MN), Minnesota Twinstars (MN), Nationals (MI) and Sockers FC (IL).
“As one of the founding member leagues of the NPL, clubs in the Midwest Developmental League bring experience and a championship pedigree to the ENPL,” said Leo Garcia, NPL General Manager. “Midwest Developmental League clubs are perennial national title contenders in the NPL, and now the ENPL offers an additional challenge.”
The NISL was founded in 1975 and has become one of the largest and most competitive youth soccer leagues in the United States with over 17,000 players on more than 1,300 teams throughout Chicago-land. The top division of the NISL is the Chicago NPL, of which top-performing teams will qualify for the ENPL Playoffs.
“The NISL is pleased that US Club Soccer has introduced and added the ENPL competition as the highest level of a playoff platform,” said Peter Richardson, NISL President. “This now provides the top of the pyramid of club competition, which is just below U.S. Soccer Academy competition. Clubs and players will be able to clearly see the US Club’s competition pyramid. The pyramid is now complete.”
“The NISL is excited for the new ENPL playoff platform,” added Brendan Eitz, NISL Technical Director. “With Chicago-land being one of the major competitive market places in the country, the NISL looks forward to additional opportunities that the ENPL will provide for our clubs and organizations.”
Quotes from participating clubs:
- David Richardson, Sockers FC President & Technical Director: “We see this as a great opportunity for our teams that play in our local league (NISL) to qualify into a regional and national platform against like-minded clubs. With qualification and standards being common throughout all the leagues in the United States.”
- Chad Flanders, Campton United Technical Director: “NISL has done a great job representing the Chicago-land area and has been highly successful at the NPL Finals. We’re a strong market that will continue to represent the Midwest area. To be involved with the ENPL is a great opportunity. In the future, NISL will continue to be a good representative of the area and compete well at the ENPL level.”
- Dino Delevski, Chicago Inferno Technical Director: “We are very excited about the introduction of the ENPL, and we are looking forward to its format. NPL and the NISL have played a great role in the direction of our club, and we are confident that ENPL will only bring more to it. I feel that US Club Soccer is taking the right path by allowing clubs to earn their placement according to the level of their performance and it is everything that Chicago Inferno stands for.”
- Denny Kohlmyer, Beadling SC President: “Beadling SC, the oldest active soccer club in the USA founded in 1898 and the most successful club in the history of Western PA soccer, is excited to join the NPL – and one that is an ENPL qualifier. The NPL will provide our players with the best developmental environment possible in US youth soccer, thereby ensuring they will reach their potential and achieve their dreams as players.”
ABOUT US CLUB SOCCER:
A National Association member of the U.S. Soccer Federation, US Club Soccer fosters the growth and development of soccer clubs in order to create the best possible development environment for players of all ages.
Anchored by Players First and its five pillars of Club Development, Coaching Development, Player Development, Parent Engagement & Education and Player Health & Safety, US Club Soccer offers registration, league- and cup-based competition platforms, player identification and a variety of other programming, resources and services.
US Club Soccer is sponsored by Nike and supported by LaLiga through a technical partnership.