Phone: (303) 694-6882 • Fax: (303) 694-4803• 8200 S. Akron St. Suite 122 Centennial, CO 80112 • Hours: Tues-Friday, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

The Elite Clubs National League and the US Soccer Development Academy – What does it mean to you?


Since 2007 for boys in the US Soccer Development Academy (DA) and beginning in 2009 for the girls in the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL), Real Colorado has had a platform for our elite players to compete in.  Regardless of organizing body, each offered a platform for our players to compete at the highest level in the country.  Beginning in the fall of 2017 US Soccer and the ECNL will both be offering their programming to the boys and the girls.  You can read more about the US Soccer Development Academy  and the Elite Clubs National League (unique boys site) at their own websites in their own words.

Real Colorado is in the unique position in we will have a boys and girls team in both the DA and the ECNL.  We are the only club in Colorado to have earned this opportunity, and with that, comes the ability for players to have a choice of program to be considered for. Both programs are national leagues, meaning while there are 1-2 local clubs we will play who are also in the leagues, the vast majority of our opponents will come from outside of Colorado.  They both require increased travel, have offered excellent collegiate exposure and identification for invitational camps such as the US Youth National team program and the ECNL PDP’s, and by nature of the national competitions, challenged our players to be the best in the country. So what’s different? Listed below are the more significant differences between the two leagues as it relates to a players experience.

US Soccer Development Academy

  • Run by US Soccer
    • Supported by the business of soccer in the US and business partnerships.
    • US Soccer committed to investing 12 million in the GDA over the next 3 years as an example.
  • Fall 2018 Ages by Birthyear
    • Girls 05, 04, 03, 02, 00/01
    • Boys 07 (x2), 06, 05, 04, 03/02, 01/00
  • Limited substitutions and no re-entry
    • U14 – 7 substitutions
    • U15 and older – 7 substitutions
  • No high school soccer allowed
  • Permits Developmental Players – players from within the club who are not a fulltime member of the DA may play in up to 6 games before either becoming fulltime or being removed from the DA.

Elite Clubs National League

  • Run by US Club Soccer – a member of US Soccer
    • Funded through ECNL membership fees, business partnerships and retail sales.
  • Fall 2018 Ages by birthyear
    • Girls 05, 04, 03, 02, 00/01
  • Limited substitutions
    • May enter 1x per half (starting a half is considered an entry)
  • High School allowed
    • Some games are played during hs season and players are expected to participate
  • Permits players to play in other leagues and tournaments.

What is most important to remember is Real Colorado remains committed in both the DA and the ECNL for both our boys and our girls. We believe having both is significant for both the development of our players as well as for their college recruitment.  We are committed to changing the game and giving each player the chance to develop as a player and as a person.  For all intensive purposes, the DA will be our first team with the ECNL then becoming our second team in most age groups.  This means a player selected to be on the DA could choose to play on an ECNL team instead, but the reverse is not true.

At Real Colorado, our goal is both the DA and ECNL will be the best in Colorado and compete nationally in each respective league. This is a high standard, but we believe we have the depth of talent and the quality of coaches to work towards this goal. The strength of each respective program will be build on the strength of the other.

Be sure to check out our player placement page to find out all the information about how and when we will be selecting our DA and ECNL teams.