FC Wisconsin’s ECNL programs gladly swapped the 0° of Wisconsin for the near 80° of Florida for a pair ECNL National Events this January. The U17/18 ECNL Regional League team experienced their first ever national event in Sanford, while the U16, U17 and U18 ECNL Club Competition teams were not far away in Tampa. All the teams at both events played well, got significant collegiate exposure, and had a great experience!
The U17/18 RL team got the ball rolling first with a tough early morning match up on day 1. They were ultimately undone by some early mistakes, but they grew in to the game and competed well. Despite being unable to claim a point, they learned valuable lessons about event preparation and were able to spend the rest of the day enjoying the unique event atmosphere and the Florida sun.
Day 2 saw the ECNL Club Competition teams kickoff in Tampa. Good performances with missed opportunities seemed to be the story of the day as all three teams enjoyed long spells of possession, created multiple chances, but were largely unable to capitalize. U16 clinched a 1-0 win over Racing Louisville, U17 were held 0-0, and U18 were left frustrated by a 0-1 defeat.
Meanwhile back in Sanford, U17/18 RL were in no mood to leave points on the table, seeing off PWSI Courage by 4 goals to 2. They again fell behind in the game early, but showed a different steel to the previous day and quickly overturned the score and never looked back. A terrific day for this first year team and program.
Sunday brought a close to the event for U17/18 RL, a 7:30 AM Kick-off, and a great deal of fatigue from the previous two days. A disappointing loss did not diminish what was a great experience overall and one that has left the Regional League program hungry for more.
The ECNL Club Competition program had another day of good performances and close games in Sarasota. The U16 and U17 teams succumbed to top clubs from the east coast in PDA South and East Meadow in great games with disappointing close results, but the U18s were the more disappointed side in a 2-2 tie with Oklahoma Energy. In an exciting game, they dominated possession but missed a multitude of chances allowing Oklahoma to stay in the game via two great individual goals against the run of play.
The U18s were to end the event, the last of their careers, on a high note with a well deserved win on day 3, in what was probably the game of the weekend for the club. The team got the better of a 5 goal thriller against FSA, with chances at both ends, great saves, and well worked goals. The U16 and U17 teams were both showing signs of fatigue and ended their events in defeat to a pair of highly competitive teams.
Winter events are always a great experience for FC Wisconsin teams, and an important showcasing opportunity for individual players. With nearly 250 college coaches watching the 4 teams in Florida, (and more than 900 college coaches on-site overall), there was no shortage of opportunity to shine. As always, Wisconsin’s top players made no excuses, attacked the games, and can be proud of their performances.
`FC Wisconsin will be back in action at the end of February when the club’s U15, U16, and U17 teams head to Houston for the final ECNL National Event of the season. Once again showcasing their talent in front of hundreds of college coaches, against the nations toughest competition