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ECNL BOYS SEES RECORD NUMBER OF COLLEGE SCOUTS ATTEND NATIONAL EVENTS THIS SEASON

May 16, 2024, | Courtesy of www.theecnl.com



RICHMOND, Va. (May 16, 2024) – ECNL Boys events were filled with a record number of college scouts in the past twelve months, as the pathway from the ECNL Boys to the top levels of college soccer continues to grow every year.


Across the last six regular season events and the ECNL Boys Playoffs last June, over 3000 scouts have packed the sidelines at ECNL Boys events over the past year. Over 1500 scouts alone attended the three ECNL Boys National Events in Phoenix, South Carolina, and Florida earlier this season, with these destination events continuing to provide premium visibility to players from across the entire country.


Colleges from every conference and every level of competition have sent scouts to ECNL events this year, including reigning national champions Clemson, College Cup finalist Notre Dame, semifinalist West Virginia, and perennial west coast power UCLA, to name a few.


Alabama FC had three alumni on Clemson’s national championship winning team this year and will be sending eight more players to the Division 1 level this upcoming season. Director of Coaching Ben Parks emphasized how valuable it is to be able to show those numbers to families and players as they look at the best path and process to accomplish their dreams and reach college soccer.


“I certainly think it helps with player retention and player acquisition. It also helps with parent education that takes place,” Parks said. “People that are asking questions about the process, if you just point to players on the map I think it does give them a sense of ease, even with families that may be unfamiliar with the process.”


At ECNL South Carolina, Alabama FC’s Kyle Hunnicutt was named Player of the Match at the Continental Tire ECNL National Selection Game. Parks said there were more than 130 college scouts at their game the next day to watch him and other players.  


“When the players see that many people they’re going to run around like demons. It was a pretty unique thing,” Parks said.


Pipeline SC Director of Coaching Brandon Quaranta noted that he has received tremendous feedback from college coaches about the continued growth of the ECNL National Events.


“It’s their preferred platform in the country for viewing players. It translates to college soccer and they’re really pleased with where it is and the trajectory of where it’s going,” Quaranta said.


Pipeline, who have already compiled an impressive list of 15 2024 players headed into Men’s College Soccer recently saw U17 standout Casey Price commit to the University of Maryland.


Quaranta says that Pipeline’s end goal is to produce top college soccer players and when you’re selling players on the ability to have a great experience at a top college program, you need the sidelines packed with college scouts to deliver on that goal.


“You’re selling universities, college educations, great experiences in the top college programs in the country, and obviously you can’t sell that if parents are at these showcases and looking at the sidelines and they’re empty,” Quaranta said. “We’ve had 60 to 70 coaches on the sidelines consistently at our U17 and U18/19 games at these events. Guys are coming back with offers to our players. It's real, it's genuine. Selling it isn't even a thing now. The parents see it and are witnessing it.”


Solar SC had teams at ECNL Florida, Las Vegas, South Carolina and Texas this season. Director of Coaching Grant Sawyer said the continued growth of scouts at ECNL National Events this year remains a huge selling point for the club.


“Every year it continues to grow,” Sawyer said. “When I can tell parents we’re going to get 60 to 80 coaches a game and 30 or 40 of those are Division 1 schools many of which are top 25, it’s a huge sell for our club.”


The growing number of college scouts at ECNL events in the past calendar year has established the league as the best pathway to college soccer, with the winter showcases as three of the biggest recruiting events in boys soccer in the annual calendar. “The exposure for the players at these events, whether measured by total scouts and number of schools, or by the number of the very best programs in college soccer, is incredible,” said ECNL Boys Commissioner Jason Kutney. 


In addition to the winter showcases, ECNL hosts three additional national events during the spring that provide great college exposure for players before the June ECNL Playoffs kickoff as another of the most recruited events in the country. “Overall, our platform has four of the absolute best events you can get to in this country for college exposure, as well as multiple additional events that provide the necessary exposure for all levels of the collegiate game,” continued Kutney. “Since 2021, the increase in both the number of scouts at our events and the number of ECNL alums in college has been almost exponential, and we expect that trend to continue."


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