Our U16, U17 and U18/19 Gretna Elite Academy ECNL teams recently traveled to Phoenix, Arizona for the first Elite Clubs National League Event of the season. After three days of competition at the Reach 11 Sports Complex, our teams returned from what was a fantastic weekend of competition, college recruiting exposure and a little sunshine.

U16 ECNL Recap

The 16’s entered the weekend as arguably the most consistent GEA-ECNL team during Midwest Conference play. The team had won four of their eight conference games and they were looking to add to their win total coming into ECNL AZ. Day one saw them playing one of Southern California’s top U16 teams in Beach FC. The game was fantastic from a neutrals standpoint with both teams creating lots of scoring chances throughout. Beach went on to score late in their 3-1 win. Day two was another match up against a quality California opponent in Slammers FC. A very tight game ended 1-0 in favor of Slammers but once again the 16’s showed their quality throughout the game. Day three was yet another Southern California opponent in Real So Cal. A red card would create a real challenge for the 16’s. The team fought hard playing with ten players but unfortunately the game would end 1-4 in favor to Real So Cal.

“Following a demanding Midwest Conference season for the 05 ECNL girls we prepared for 3 tough games in Phoenix. Although we didn’t get the results we were hoping for we continued to learn during every game vs a very high level of opponent. This team has grown tremendously and will continue to over the winter months as prepare for ECNL Showcases in Florida and Houston”

Chad Gleckler – Gretna Elite Academy U16 ECNL Head Coach

U17 ECNL Recap

The 17’s entered ECNL AZ on an impressive three game undefeated streak that included a 3-0 win over Michigan Hawks Magic, a 1-1 tie vs Michigan Hawks and a 1-1 tie vs Minnesota Thunder Academy. Entering the weekend, the 17’s confidence on the defensive side of the ball was high as they had only conceded two goals in their previous three Midwest Conference games. Day one of ECNL AZ saw them matched up against the LA Breakers. An early goal scored by Savanna Solomon set up what would be a solid day one win over their Southern California opponent. Day two would prove to be a tougher matchup against a solid Strikers FC team. After much of the game being deadlocked at 0-0, Claire Kniss would score the decisive goal that would lead to their second win of the weekend. Day three was another match up against a Southern California opponent and one of the top teams in all of California in the So Cal Blues. The 17’s dominated much of the game and were unlucky to not have gone in front on several occasions. With three minutes left, the Blues would capitalize on one of the 17’s few defensive mistakes of the weekend to score and win the game 1-0. It was a great game to end the weekend despite the disappointing 0-1 loss.

“The 17’s were very good over the three day weekend. They entered the weekend with a lot of confidence and it showed throughout the weekend. I thought the players not only represented our program extremely well but also displayed a great brand of soccer in front of the hundreds of college coaches who recruited on site or virtually during the event. The team will now shift their focus to preparing for ECNL FL in January.”

Marcus Kelcher, Gretna Elite Academy U17 ECNL Head Coach

U18/19 ECNL Recap

The 18/19 ECNL team entered the weekend looking forward to some sunshine and three high quality games at one of the nations finest complexes. The weekend started with a 3-1 win over Dallas Sting Royal 02/03 ECNL. The victory started what would go on to be an undefeated weekend in Phoenix as a convincing 4-1 win over Santa Rosa United 02/03 ECNL followed and a tough 1-1 draw vs. Arsenal FC 02/03 ECNL would conclude what was a fantastic weekend from the 18/19’s.

“I thought the 18/19’s were by and large excellent over the three day weekend in Phoenix. I thought the group were defensively solid and showed their ability to score goals in bunches. Kenzie Roling was the standout performer on the weekend after showing her quality on Saturday, scoring three goals in the teams 4-1 win over Santa Rosa United.”

Marcus Kelcher, Gretna Elite Academy U18/19 ECNL Assistant Coach