In June of 2019, Marin FC earned entry into the top league for young women in the country, the Elite Clubs National League. We became the 96th member of the ECNL which admits only the top clubs nationwide based on each’s history of player development and performance on the field.
Becoming a member of the ECNL provides the young ladies of Marin FC with a platform to compete against the top teams in the country on a weekly basis. Membership also ensures Marin FC’s inclusion in the ECNL National Showcases, which are far and away the best showcases in the country in terms of college exposure. The elevated level of competition will further challenge our players tempering their skills and honing their performance. The increased visibility will enhance our players’ ability to be identified by colleges, leading to more collegiate playing opportunities for our girls.
Marin FC will join the Bay Area Division of the Northwest Conference, which includes Mustang SC, MVLA, Davis Legacy, Pleasanton Rage, San Juan SC, and Santa Rosa United. Two more Divisions, the Mountain and the Pacific, comprise the rest of the Northwest Conference with teams across Oregon, Washington, Utah, and Idaho.
For our Blue teams playing in the ECNL (U13-U19), league play will consist of a home and away against each team in the Bay Area Division, as well as one travel weekend to play teams in one of the other two divisions, and one weekend where we host teams from one of the other divisions. Due to an odd number of teams in the Bay Area Division, on a seven year cycle one club will have two “out of division” travel weekends. Marin FC is this club in our inaugural year and so our travel burden will start high and lessen in subsequent years.
In addition to league play, our ECNL teams (Blue teams) will take part in ECNL National Showcase events. The ECNL mandates how many events teams attend based upon age. The U13 and U14 teams will play in the national event in Davis, CA. The U15 team heads to the two national events held in Phoenix in November and April. The U16 and U17 teams will play in the two Phoenix events and the New Jersey event in May. Our U19 team will take part in the November Phoenix event. Through league standings, all teams will also have the chance to qualify for the ECNL National Playoffs that take place in June.
Our Red teams will enter the Elite Clubs Regional League (ECRL) where they will also play a home and away series against the second teams from the ECNL clubs within our Bay Area Division. The ECRL champion qualifies for a spot at the ECNL National Playoffs.
Becoming part of the ECNL offers our players incredible opportunities. Marin FC has endeavored for several years to raise our young womens’ game to this top standard. The vast majority of competitive female players in the country never get this chance. The efforts of many former and current players, coaches, and board members have achieved for us this honor, and our players will now all benefit from the new opportunities that no Marin players before them have had. As we transition to this new caliber, there will be growing pains. As a strong club recognized for our excellence, we gladly accept the challenge.