ECNL – Frequently Asked Questions

We are very excited to share more information with you about this new opportunity for our club to participate in ECNL USC TX RL LEAGUE!

What is the Elite Clubs National League (the ECNL)?

The ECNL is a national youth soccer league founded in 2009 for U15, U16 and U17 girls for the purpose of providing the highest level of competition and the best developmental environment for American youth soccer players, as well as an identification program for identifying players for US Soccer Youth National Teams. ECNL RL includes teams from U13 – U19 ages for both boys and girls.

More information about ECNL can be found on their website:

What is the ECNL Regional League (the ECNL RL)?

In 2018, the ECNL expanded its program to include ECNL Regional Leagues (ECNL RL).

More information can be found on their website: (

What is the difference between ECNL and ECNL RL?

Here is a link from the Trace website that provides unbiased information about the difference between ECNL and ECNL RL

Who will play in the ECNL RL?

For the inaugural season, all Barça Austin players currently registered for US Club (USC League) will automatically participate in ECNL-RL without having to try out. This includes age groups 2011-2002. This is a huge opportunity for players currently enrolled in our Competitive Program. Players currently enrolled in the Technical and Development Programs are not eligible. 

After this inaugural season, there will be tryouts for ECNL RL and Pre-ECNL age groups in the late spring. We will have rolling Identification Days throughout the year. We also will host formal tryout events for our pre-ECNL age groups (U9-U12) in May, 2023.

Do parents need to register players in this new league?

All players that were registered in USC (2011 and up) will be automatically registered for this new league.

How does this change the leagues that Barça currently plays in?

Our Technical and Development programs will not change. For players in our Competitive Program, we will add ECNL RL games into their current schedule instead of USC games. More information about the USCTX RL League structure can be found here:

WDDOA, SCL, Frontier, and Pro league games will continue as planned. Next season we will introduce a completely different pricing model and league structure to incorporate these changes. But for the 2022-23 season, your player will get to take advantage of everything Barça has to offer.

Does playing in ECNL RL mean that there will be more practice sessions per week?

No, our Competitive Program model will remain unchanged. ECNL RL teams will practice 3 times per week. Practice frequency is determined by the club.

If a player is not required to practice more often, how does the level of commitment change in this new league?

Competition in ECNL RL will be higher than any league in which we currently play.  This increased competition level will place new demands on our players, coaches, and parents.  The player contract will be more important than ever.  Players will be held accountable to all expectations and rules in the Player Contract in our Barça Austin Handbook (Handbook Link). 

Parents will also be held to higher standards and must adhere to the code of conduct in the Barça Austin Handbook (Handbook Link).   

Any player or parent in violation of any rules or misconduct is subject to penalties as detailed in the Barça Austin Handbook (Handbook Link). This will be determined by the Coach or Barça Academy staff. Misconduct or rule violations must follow guidelines and regulations set by the national ECNL RL conduct rules and expectations as well as USCTX RL. 

The Barça H.E.A.R.T. values are unique to our club and following these standards will prove players are committed and can represent Barça in this new league.

How much travel is involved in participating in the ECNL?

Our teams will compete in the regional division, which includes clubs from Houston, San Antonio, and South of Austin. This is very similar to the schedule our teams currently have.

Will playing in ECNL RL be an additional cost?

For the 2022-23 season, we recently notified players committed to playing in the USC league and now playing ECNL-RL that it would be an additional $250 for the year. This additional fee will help cover new costs associated with participating in ECNL RL such as recruiting additional coaches and trainers, increased league fees, and additional club requirements. 

An additional ECNL-RL jersey will also need to be purchased for games since all uniforms must have a specific ECNL patch worn during all ECNL RL games. Players are also responsible for all costs associated with travel and entry fees to required tournaments.  

I’ve already ordered uniforms for the season, so how does this change my current order?

As noted above, all uniforms must have a specific ECNL patch worn during all ECNL-RL games. The club is currently working on a new jersey that will need to be purchased for ECNL-RL games. The shorts and socks of the current kit will be worn with this jersey. Ordering information will be coming soon.


Will the club allow pass play or playing up on ECNL RL or other leagues?

Yes. Team rosters are set by the Barça Academy Coach and the Technical Director. Offers for pass play or playing up will be determined on a case-by-case basis, as this depends on each player’s development track, as well as our competition schedule. See additional information below in Roster Rules and Playing Time.

How is the ECNL RL different from other soccer leagues in maximizing player development?


The ECNL RL provides the opportunity for the best male/female youth soccer players in the country to compete against each other – one of the requirements for maximizing player development. Because the ECNL only includes the higher competition clubs in the country, every ECNL RL game will be dynamic, exceptionally competitive, and played at a significantly higher speed with more physical, psychological, technical and tactical demands on the players than the “average” game. The consistency of this competition and the demands it imposes creates more skillful, intelligent, and focused players. 

In order to maximize the competitive level of each ECNL RL game, the ECNL RL only schedules 1 ECNL RL game per day per team, and no more than 3 days of games in succession. This aids in reducing burn-out and fatigue from game-to-game.


The ECNL RL limits the number of substitutions in each ECNL RL game by prohibiting reentry of players in each half. In other words, once a player is subbed out of an ECNL RL game, the player may not re-enter the game in that half of play. This forces players to maintain their concentration and work-rate for far longer periods of time than in most other competitions, and helps to prepare them for competition at the national and international level. Without the massive substitution patterns common in other youth soccer events, players in ECNL games are forced to adapt to the physical and psychological demands of playing for 90 minutes without a break and without the “cushion” of temporary substitution to re-energize or re-focus.

What are the Roster Rules and Playing Time?

The ECNL-RL allows a flexible roster of up to 26 – 30 players per team, and allows players to be rostered on multiple teams within their ECNL club. In addition, the ECNL allows players to move from one team roster to another from day-to-day, allowing players to play in different age groups in the same event, if the BAA technical director and respective coaches determine so. (Note: A player may only play in 1 ECNL game per day.) Playing time is at the sole discretion of the ECNL-RL coach based on specific criteria for the team, game plan, and the competition. Only 18 players will be rostered per game, however not all players may get game time.

Can a player that participates in the ECNL also participate in high school soccer?

Yes. The ECNL schedules are created to ensure that all players that participate in the ECNL also have the opportunity to play high school soccer. There will be less direct conflicts with HS Soccer for members of ECNL RL. When there are conflicts our approach will continue to be based on a “health conscious” approach to player development.

What is the ECNL Conference Selection Program?

The ECNL has created a unique identification program in conjunction with US Club Soccer’s id2 identification program to provide another alternative for players to be identified for US Soccer National Teams. The ECNL player identification program identifies the best players in the ECNL through a combination of independent scouting and coaching recommendations. Players identified in this program will be invited into a special ECNL / id2 National Camp, where they will be evaluated and trained by US Soccer National Team coaching staff.

How is the ECNL player identification program different from other identification programs?

The ECNL identification program has several unique components compared to other identification programs.

1. There is no charge to the player to be identified (there is no tryout fee).
2. The player is identified in his/her natural team environment (there is no tryout or tryout camp).
3. The ECNL identification program does not add additional events to the calendar for identification (the players are identified in their natural environment while competing in ECNL events).
4. The only cost for the player to participate in the ECNL / id2 National Camp is the cost of travel to and from camp. All other costs (hotel, food, ground transportation, facility usage, coaching, etc.) are subsidized by the ECNL, US Club Soccer, and Nike.

Can a player that participates in the ECNL RL also participate in the USYS ODP program?

Yes. The ECNL player identification program is one of several different identification programs provided by different organizations for the elite youth soccer player to be identified for US Soccer Youth National Teams. 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 will 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 interests and desires.

How will the ECNL RL change college recruiting?

The ECNL brings together the best soccer clubs in the country to compete against each other. The competitive schedule for these games for the entire year is determined at the beginning of the year, and, as such, college coaches can more easily plan their recruiting calendar to ensure that they see all the players in which they are interested – and see them competing against the best players in the country.

Why should I play in the ECNL RL if I intend to go to college close to home?

NCAA Division I, II and III college soccer programs recruit nationally, and opportunities to play in NCAA Division I tend to go to players from nationally competitive teams. Elite players maximize their opportunities to be recruited for college and to be identified for the national team by playing against the top talent from around the country at the best college showcases. The ECNL guarantees their players the opportunity to play the best players in the country, at the biggest showcase events, every year.

How does joining ECNL RL help players in college soccer?

If the ultimate goal is to play in college, the answer is fairly clear for girls and boys — ECNL. In comparison to the National League or the NPL, the level of commitment is much higher and the rules are a little more strict in the ECNL, but the competition level is higher. Also, ECNL events are well-attended by top college scouts and coaches. The organization of the league is top notch and exposure is assured.

How long is the ECNL RL season?

ECNL-RL competition includes a combination of league schedules and event (tournament) play plus showcases. 2011-2009 age groups will have a season similar to that of WDDOA. 2008 and up age groups traditionally have a season that ends in February. This schedule includes Fall (Sept-Dec) with potential matches in Winter (Jan-Feb) to minimize conflicts with the High School season in Spring. Certain age groups will also include postseason competitions in June and possibly July if they advance.


Director of Competition, Daniel Benito, will be in charge of this new program.

For more specific questions regarding this FAQ, a committee has been created. Please email any questions to the committee at

*Disclaimer* As we incorporate this new addition into our club, please note that any and all information is subject to change as we proceed. We will do our best to keep this information as current as possible.