March 9th, 2018 - Indianapolis, IN: The ECNL Season is well underway and FCPride.org wanted to find out how our teams have faired in the first few months of competition.
The U18/U19 team coached by ECNL Boys Director, Tony Massie, currently leads the Midwest Division after back-to-back wins in St Louis at the end of February. That gives them a record of 3 wins and 1 loss so far in conference play. The U18/U19s started their season with a big win on the road at Michigan Wolves, before suffering a tough loss to our travel partner, Ohio Elite at home.
Regarding the transition to the Boys ECNL,U18/U19 Captain Levi King said: The ECNL provides a more competitive platform with the ability for us to play against top flight clubs in the US. I have enjoyed the higher quality of play to help challenge my skills and help me develop as a player.’
The U17 ECNL Boys currently sit mid table with 1 win, 1 loss and 2 ties. After a tie on the road vs. Michigan Wolves, an important win at home vs. Ohio Elite was followed with a tie and a loss on the road in St. Louis at the back end of last month The U17’s were also involved in a dramatic 4-4 tie vs. Connecticut FC at the ECNL Florida showcase in Sanford this January, which was one of the most enthralling games at the showcase.
Our U16 ECNL Boys are currently 5th in the Midwest conference with 1 win, 2 losses and a tie. They are feeling confident after winning 3-0 on the road in St. Louis to get their first win of the season on the second day of a tough road trip.
A good start to the season sees the U15 ECNL Boys sitting in 4th position with 2 wins, 1 tie and 1 loss. A tight 1-0 win away at Michigan Wolves got the season underway in fantastic fashion, which was followed with another 1-0 win at home vs. Ohio Elite in mid February.
The U14 ECNL Boys gained a fantastic 1-0 victory vs. Ohio Elite, hosted at the FC Pride Cup to give them their first league victory in the ECNL. Their record currently reads 1 win, 1 tie and 5 losses going into the spring half of their season. A 4-1 win vs. Florida Elite at the Sanford showcase in January was a major highlight in the groups ECNL experience.
When asked about our first season in the Boys ECNL, U15 & U16 Head Coach Damon Carter said: 'I believe our inclusion in the ECNL has been a tremendous benefit for the club. The end game used to be the MRL, now we are putting our players on a National stage, which is reflected in the intensity of training and games. We are seeing a much higher level of commitment from our players and staff, we are seeing more cohesiveness within our teams and our younger players all want to learn more about the ECNL.'
Executive Director of Coaching, Jamie Gilbert added: ‘It is the consistency in all facets of the Boys ECNL that has impressed me. The showcase in Florida was fantastic but eye opening at the same time, we are now head-to-head with some of the best clubs in the country and we are working to improve our standards everyday. In addition to the raised levels of competition, training and the standards we expect from ourselves, one of the biggest factors that aids development is the ability to travel together as a club. From a coaching perspective, our staff is able to watch all of our teams play back to back at the same facility on the same day which helps breed the cohesiveness that Damon spoke about’.
Ohio Premier (OP) travel in to play FC Pride on March 17th and ECNL Director Tony Massie knows it will be a difficult day of games: Next weekend sees the 5th round of games in ECNL for the boys and Ohio Premier will be the opposition. Their record for developing strong teams is well thought of in the Midwest, so it will provide another stern test for the Pride teams.’
Massie added: ‘The players and coaches are thoroughly enjoying the level of competition, the commitment and togetherness shown by all teams is paying dividends in the return of good scores being posted every weekend. We are hopeful the teams will remain competitive throughout the spring season and with a small degree of luck along the way, maybe some of the teams will make the playoffs in Boston come July. We already have one eye on tryouts and are excited to see the level of player, which might be attracted to the club through the performances of the teams these next few months. It's an exciting time to be part of the program and I can't wait to see what game day 5 brings next weekend.’