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Second Half of ECNL-RL Kicks Off Next Month

In the first year that the ECNL-RL has represented the top level of NorCal Premier Soccer’s league pyramid for both the boys and girls, there could hardly have been a more competitive beginning to the season.

As it stands, all U15-U19 ECNL-RL sides are at the midway point of their campaigns, having played half of the home-and-away fixtures required, with the remaining on the schedule starting next month.

Not only is it tight at the top of the table–the average distance from first to second place is fewer than three points–but each of the eight divisions are led by teams from eight different clubs.

“With all divisions still up for grabs and many teams still in contention, we look forward to an exciting second round of games this spring,” said NorCal NPL Commissioner Kelcey Chaidez. “If the competition is anything like it was in the fall, we’re going to have an incredible stretch run of matches.”

That run will culminate May 18 and 19 at the NorCal College Showcase in Davis, where each of the ECNL-RL teams are scheduled to play their final match.

Currently topping the divisions are Elk Grove Soccer (U19 Boys), West Coast Soccer (U19 Girls), Eastshore Alliance (U17 Boys), IR Academy (U17 Girls), Turlock Academica Jrs. (U16 Boys), Stanislaus United (U16 Girls), South Valley Chivas (U15 Boys), and San Juan South (U15 Girls).

However, the remaining matches are just as important for the teams at the top of the table as they are for those at the bottom.

While most U15-U19 divisions will see the top-four finishers qualify for the 2024 ECNL-RL Regionals in Norco, the bottom two teams will suffer relegation to the NPL for the fall.

Additionally, the ECNL-RL is now set to begin for the U13 and U14 age groups, who only participate in the competition in the spring after earning spots based on their record in the four regional NPL divisions during the fall.

For the U14s, which will move to a full slate of ECNL-RL next season, the last-place finisher will be relegated to the NPL, while the spring’s NPL 1 East and NPL 1 West champions will earn spots in the next ECNL-RL.

“It’s important for the development of the kids that we create a structure in which all games are both competitive and important,” Chaidez said. “With the new ECNL-RL, we feel like we’ve accomplished this goal, which can only have a more positive impact on our membership.”

For more information about the ECNL-RL, click here.