January 29, 2024, | Courtesy of www.soccerwire.com
The first ECNL Boys National Event of 2024 is set to begin, with ECNL Florida taking place from February 3-5 in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
Ahead of the weekend’s action, here are some players to know from this year’s event. Players are listed according to their graduation year.
Sullivan Carter | Midfielder-Winger-DefenderNorthern Virginia Alliance 08 (VA)
Serves as NVA’s Swiss Army knife, using has a wide array of skills to solve problems in NVA’s attack, midfield, and in defense. His ability to see what the opposition is planning, make small adjustments on the fly, and provide a countermove make him highly dangerous anywhere on the pitch. The reigning Mid-Atlantic Player of the Year and member of the All-American team last season, Carter has ked the team to a 6-1-3 record thus far in conference play.
A crafty left-footed defender, Husain constantly uses his speed and pinpoint field vision to slow down attackers and create goal-scoring opportunities off of the counter attack for Magic. Thanks to his work in the defensive third, Husain’s high school New Trier won the Illinois State Championship this past fall.
Named to the ECNL Northeast All-Conference First Team last season, Harvey started his 2023-2024 campaign with Match Fit in fine form. At the FC DELCO Fall Showcase, he anchored a defense that allowed just one goal and won all three of their matches.
Spearheaded an Eclipse defense that shutout both Slammers FC and Heat FC (2-0 in both games) at the ECNL Las Vegas event. Using his speed, Moreno can track back and stem counter-attacks with a solid tackle or interception. He played an integral role in Eclipse’s National Playoff run last season and was a member of their US Club Soccer Regional Cup Championship run.
Hudson Jacobs | ForwardOklahoma Energy FC 08 (OK)
Dominates the attacking third for Oklahoma in the Texas Conference, leading an Energy attack that has scored 40 goals this season. Off the ball, Jacobs can be seen on the pitch always moving, looking for gaps in the defense to exploit. Oklahoma have won the Texas the last two seasons and will look for more scoring heroics from Jacobs as they pursue a third straight title.
Nathaniel Blahnik | MidfielderConcorde Fire Platinum 08 (GA)
Runs the highly organized Fire Platinum midfield that has run through opponents in the ECNL Southeast Conference West Division this season (13-0-5, 44 points). Depending upon the situation, Blahnik is equally comfortable at slowing down the speed of play or speeding it up finding teammates in open space with a variety of passes. He is also a leader on the pitch, taking what he sees and providing tactical information that his teammates can use immediately. For his efforts last season, Blahnik earned the Southeast Player of the Year award and was a member of the All-American team.
Tanner Drought | Midfielder-DefenderGretna Elite Academy 08 (NE)
Playing in either the midfield or the defense, Drought is a playmaker for Gretna. His ability to make a key defensive stop and then pick out a teammate in open space is integral to the team holding their shape. His work at maintaining possession has helped Gretna get out to a 7-3-0 record in Heartland Conference play. He was also named to the All-Conference First Team last season.
Miguel Solano | ForwardSporting Nebraska 08 (NE)
Provided the attacking spark once again for Sporting last fall, leading a Nebraska offense that scored 34 goals in the Heartland Conference- North Division. Solano makes smart, precise runs off of the ball and has a controlled first touch that defenders struggle to keep up with. Last season was a breakout year for the 2026 attacker, earning U15 Heartland Conference Player of the Year honors as well as a spot on the All-American Team after leading Sporting to a Round of 16 appearance in last year’s playoffs. Their ambitions seem to be higher this season and if their form in conference is any indication (8-1-1, 25 points) they are going to be a tough opponent for any club.
Alternating between centerback and in the defensive midfield, Lewis provided consistent defensive work for North Carolina last fall. In open space, he can track down attackers and either force them to go wide or make a timely tackle to end the scoring chance. He is also an asset in the air, using all of his 6’2″ to head away dangerous balls.
Griffin Garnett | MidfielderRichmond United 06/05 (VA)
Last season’s U17 Player 4of the Year, Garnett has led Richmond to another strong start in 2023-2024 using his pace and nose for goal to help United score 25 goals in league play (most among all Mid-Atlantic teams). On the ball, he can drive directly at opponents and either place a precise pass in open space for a teammate or hammer a shot from anywhere on the pitch. At 6’2″ he is also more than capable of creating goalscoring opportunities from the air.
Ryan Andrews | DefenderPipeline SC 07 (MD)
Named to the ECNL All-American team last season after leading Pipeline’s 07s to a semifinal appearance in the National Playoffs. A strong, imposing player Andrews can box out attackers and make decisive clears in sticky situations. For his high school Loyola Blakefield this fall he led the team to an MIAA State Championship.
Jack Saladin | ForwardSLSG 07 (MO)
Scored a critical goal lift SLSG’s over Sporting Nebraska 2-1 last month, giving them extra momentum heading into Showcase play. Saladin possesses endless speed and can immediately put on the gas after connecting on a pass. The 2022-2023 All-American team member and U16 Heartland Conference Player of the Year has SLSG riding high, having both of their league games thus far and a perfect record at last month’s ECNL South Carolina National Event.
Jack Bilyeu | ForwardFC PRIDE 06/05 (IN)
A Xavier 2024 commit, Bilyeu is coming off of a strong fall high school season for Lawrence Central, where he scored 16 goals. For his efforts, he earned All-Marion County honors and was named to the Indianapolis Star’s ALL-USA Central Indiana Super Second Team. For Pride last season his standout work up led to him being named to the ECNL’s Midwest All-Conference First Team.
Mason Wakefield | MidfielderPipeline SC 06/05 (MD)
Operating as Pipeline’s number seven, Wakefield orchestrates Pipeline’s work in the midfield using his control and field vision to spot teammates all throughout the pitch. On the attack, he is unafraid to take a crack at goal and has the ability to place his shot in the corners of the goal even from distance. Wakefield is coming off a strong four year career with Calvert Hall where he won three MIAA Championships and a National Championship.