Chattanooga FC Academy and Knoxville FC Alliance have announced an innovative partnership between the two clubs that provides Chattanooga players a path to play, train locally, and compete at the highest level with Elite Clubs National League (ECNL).
The partnership will bring together the two most successful clubs in Eastern Tennessee to improve coaching education and player opportunities.
“I have coached within ECNL clubs in Texas and Florida so I understand the competition does not get any better. There is no equal league or bigger stage for youth soccer players within Chattanooga,” said Chattanooga FC Academy Director of Coaching Steve Hirayama.
“Our partnership with FC Alliance will help us serve the top players who aspire to play beyond high school soccer and falls in line with our new Players First philosophy.”
"FC Alliance is excited to form a partnership with CFC Academy,” said FC Alliance Executive Director Jon Schneider.
“I have known Steve for almost 20 years and I have the utmost respect for him and his leadership. To be able to work together and give top East Tennessee players the best chance to be successful is an awesome concept and a great situation for the players.”
CFCA boys and girls players U13 & Older who are selected to join an ECNL team will train in Chattanooga, and also join their ECNL teammates at Knoxville’s turf facility about 90 miles from downtown Chattanooga.
"I am very excited to have a partnership with the CFC Academy that gives the best players in the Chattanooga area a path to the top league in the country,” added FC Alliance Girls DOC & ECNL Director Josh Gray.
“For years we have offered a great experience for the best players in that area, and now we can do that with the collaboration of Steve. He is someone we know and respect. He will open this player development model to even more players in East Tennessee."
CFC Academy will provide additional training sessions for Chattanooga ECNL players to help with the travel to Knoxville. The ECNL allows the option for players to participate in school soccer.
The CFCA staff will make player recommendations to FC Alliance staff, who will then coordinate with families on the best way to integrate a particular player into the ECNL program. Players still register and tryout through CFC Academy’s structure.
Families interested in exploring the Chattanooga ECNL option should email email@example.com.
The Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) was founded in 2009 to enhance the developmental experience of female youth soccer players in the United States through: (i) improving the competitive environment through creation of a true national competitive league; (ii) improving the process for identifying elite female soccer players for college and youth national teams through a systematic scouting and identification program based on national competitions; and (iii) improving the daily training environment at top female youth soccer clubs through developing best practices and training and organizational guidelines for its member clubs. The ECNL is sanctioned by US Club Soccer and is sponsored by Nike Soccer.