So Cal Smackdown- CSL, SCDSL, ECNL, NPL

So many acronyms, so little time.  In short, the super competitive Southern California Club Soccer world seems to be in constant flux. Here’s what some of those acronyms mean to me: 

CSL- Coast Soccer League Coast had been the diva of the So Cal soccer world for many years.  Their Premier League was considered one of the most prestigious in the country until…

SCDSL- Southern California Developmental Soccer League SCDSL was formed in 2011, “to serve the needs of clubs looking to have the ability to control player and team environments.”  Depending on who you talk to, it was either the brainchild of DOCs in order to focus on player development, or created by several super clubs who were upset because they wanted their top teams to opt out of their CSL schedule in order to focus on… 

ECNL- Elite Clubs National League ECNL was founded in 2009, ” to enhance the developmental experience of female youth soccer players in the United States.” The 8 So Cal super clubs San Diego Surf, So Cal Blues, Slammers, Arsenal, West Coast, Eagles, Real So Cal and Irvine Strikers are all ECNL members.  The league is national, so teams travel all over the US for showcases.  I believe that their season conflicted with the CSL season, thus the birth of the SCDSL where DOCs have more control.   ECNL is truly elite like it’s name, but is for girls only and hasn’t added any new So Cal clubs for the 2012 season.  Those clubs may now be looking at…

NPL- National Premier League The NPL is a, “player development platform for the elite youth soccer clubs in Southern California.”  It has been for boys teams, but is now accepting applications for girls for the 2013 Spring Season.  Having a Spring season negates the issue with fall conflicts.  This could be a place where top clubs who aren’t ECNL to gain some national presence and have college recruiting visibility for their girls, but…

As a parent of younger girls, most of this doesn’t really matter at the moment.  Everyone has been talking about “development” and “playing the best competition” but  is it really development when you play the best competition and lose 8-0, or for that matter, win 8-0?  As parents it’s so easy for us to get our own egos wrapped up in all this when we talk about what level our kids teams are.

I think both CSL and SCDSL have a great programs for teams, but each has its problems.  CSL seems to be in trouble; with so many clubs leaving, the competition level for elite teams has been dramatically lowered.  SCDSL has most of the top teams, but their system of the player pass has resulted in instances of groups of A team players coming to play for the B team, leaving the B team players on the bench.

The ECNL big clubs are growing by the minute- club mergers are happening everywhere with girls on a quest to play for an ECNL team to get national exposure.  CSL has a limit on teams in an age group per club…not so the SCDSL.  The big get bigger and many of the smaller clubs are no more.

My question is- what’s best for our kids?

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