The ECNL Boys Regional League events schedule got underway over the weekend with ECNL Regional League Virginia. Over 40 clubs from around the country converged on River City Sportsplex in Midlothian, Virginia for three days of high level competition in the ECNL Regional League.
For the Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals, it was the first chance for them to experience an ECNL Regional League event, which Technical Director Joe Nemzer says brought a lot of excitement for both of their age groups.
“This was the first ECNL Regional League event for our club, so it was obviously very exciting for our 07s and U19s,” Nemzer said.
At the B07 age group, the team finished 3-0-1 on the weekend, the lone blemish a 2-2 draw with Oregon Premier FC, while at the B06/05 age group, the team finished the weekend 2-0-1, including a tightly contested 2-1 win over PWSI Courage on the final day.
Nemzer believes the successful weekend provided a good blend of building confidence for the teams before they begin their ECNL Regional League schedule in December, while also testing them and showing them the areas that need to be improved upon to have a successful season.
“I think for both groups to put the ball in the back of the net and keep things out of the back of the net, to build confidence in both those areas is important, especially in the early stages of the year.”
“There were also games where we really got an idea of where we need to grow,” Nemzer said. “For us, it’s how we consistently get them on the same page throughout 90 minutes.”
One of things Nemzer said his teams are really excited about for the upcoming season is the new opportunity in front of them. The opportunity to continue to build on a day to day basis as well as compete in the ECNL Regional League is something his players are really looking forward to, and the first step on that path was this weekend.
“For our players it’s new, which is exciting,” Nemzer said. “They’re getting to figure things out as we get started. I think the excitement for them is their bond with each other and their closeness in terms of the work they’re putting in day in and day out, knowing what the payoff is at the end of it. Being able to do it under the banner of the ECNL Regional League and what we’re trying to accomplish as a club is really exciting.”
While the weekend was an opportunity for the B07 and B06/05 teams to showcase themselves, Nemzer noted that all of the age groups are extremely excited for their club’s new journey in the ECNL Regional League.
“All of our groups getting ready to compete in the ECNL Regional League are hungry and they’re playing really good football at this stage of the season,” Nemzer said. “It’s still very early, but for our aspirations as a club it’s nice to get things started off on the right foot.”
Overall, in their first ECNL Regional League event, Nemzer said he was extremely proud of his players and coaches for how they performed, and believes it was an outstanding way for them to begin their season.
“I’m really proud of our coaches and players,” Nemzer said. “It was a great event to start our season and we couldn’t be more appreciative of everyone’s efforts to run a first class event.”