The agreement brings together the exceptional youth recreational system and young academy programs of SYA, with the elite level player development and national competition structure of FC Virginia. Together, the organizations will offer every member player a level of training appropriate to their needs, with no limit to how high of a level the player can reach.
“We are excited about joining forces with FC Virginia,” said Jeff Stein, Commissioner of SYA soccer “This collaboration will offer our players the opportunity to work with an elite coaching staff and compete at the highest level with the best clubs from around the country”.
Under the agreement, FC Virginia teams will join SYA for league play sanctioned by US Youth Soccer Association, but maintain their US Club Soccer affiliation for competition within the Elite Clubs National League for girls (ECNL).
The ECNL is a national youth soccer league founded in 2009 for U-15, U-16 and U-17 girls’ teams for the purpose of providing the highest level of competition and the best developmental environment for American female youth soccer players, as well as an identification and development program, which will seek to include players in US Soccer’s National Teams. FC Virginia is one of only two clubs in Virginia, and the only club in Northern Virginia, to belong to the ECNL
“FC Virginia is look forward to joining forces and sharing our vision with SYA,” said Terry Foley, President of FC Virginia, “This will offer players in SYA the opportunity to play at the highest level in the ECNL. For FCV it offers an academy structure that is not currently in place. Together the partnership will allow us to build an elite structure that will give every player the opportunity to reach their goals, giving players access to quality coaches across every age group, and creating a first class training environment from top to bottom”.
FC Virginia’s U15, U16, and U17 ECNL teams recently wrapped up their 2009/2010 debut regular seasons as part of the PDA college showcase in New Jersey, and travel to Seattle in July for the ENCL National Championships. All three teams performed very well against some of the best clubs in US, with the U17 Explosion finishing in fourth overall for their division, earning a berth into the promotion playoffs for next season.
The Explosion’s success is important, as next season, the ECNL will expand to include the under 18 age group, and will also add a regional component to the regular season. The U15, U16, and U17 age groups will compete at a 12-game regular season before the 2011 National Championships next summer, while the U18 teams will play just 9 games to get the players ready for the rigors of college soccer they’ll face the following year.
With entry into formal ECNL competition at U15 the plan, the SYA/FCV collaboration will see the top-level teams in each age group U14 and below compete for FC Virginia. While not officially classified ECNL teams until U15, each elite level U12, U13, and U14 teams in the new combined club will nevertheless compete regionally with other ECNL member clubs in preparation for league membership, following many of the same player-friendly competition rules of their older sister teams.
SYA has been a staple of youth recreational and travel soccer in Northern Virginia since 1973. SYA is situated in the southwestern corner of Fairfax County, bordering both Loudoun and Prince William Counties. Their soccer program began with just 350 participants, and the stated purpose of providing good, clean, healthful, recreational competitive sports activities for the youth of Southwestern Fairfax County.
Other sports soon followed, with a current membership of over 13,000 children ages 4-19 participating in 14 sports. SYA has also recently completed the first 5 fields of the ‘Fields of Dreams’ project, a 13-field sports complex on 120 acres in Centreville, Virginia.
FC Virginia’s ECNL and ECNL-bound teams from U10 through U18 will join SYA for local league soccer, while simultaneously providing a new path for advancement of elite players already in the SYA program, which until now may not have had a higher level option.
The first order of business for the combined organization will be holding tryouts for the 2010/2011 ECNL and local league seasons.
More information on FC Virginia and team tryout schedules: http://www.fcvirginia.com
More information on SYA Soccer and team tryout schedules: http://www.syasoccer.org
More information on the ECNL: http://www.eliteclubsnationalleague.com