Six Challenge Players Selected for Texas ECNL PDP

March 8, 2014

The Elite Clubs National League has released the roster for its upcoming Texas ECNL PDP (Player Development Program) being help at Toyota Park, in Frisco, on March 8-9, 2014. Challenge Soccer Club once again leads all Houston based clubs with six selections in the 1995-1998 birth years. Additionally, Challenge will be the only club in the Texas Conference with two goalkeepers participating. Player selections are made based on individual performance in all ECNL competitions as well as by ECNL staff coach recommendations. Final rosters and selections are then formed by ECNL PDP Director Sean Nahas and other non-affiliated ECNL National Staff members. 

Challenge players attending the PDP include: 

Beryl Smith: Challenge 96 ECNL/ Oklahoma State University
Vanessa Valadez: Challenge 96 ECNL/ Southern Methodist University
Gretchen Cahill: Challenge 97 ECNL/ Rice University
Haley Hubbard: Challenge 97 ECNL/ University of Houston
Allyson Smith (GK): Challenge 97 ECNL/ Stephen F. Austin University
Olivia Ausmus (GK): Challenge 99 ECNL/ IMG Top 150 and US National Pool

A seventh Challenge Player was also selected (Hayley Pounds) but was unable to attend due to her early enrollment at Texas A&M University. 

Challenge Director of Coaching, Pat O'Toole, had this to say about the PDP selections: "Having six players selected to participate in the Texas ECNL PDP is a great honor for our girls and Club, and we could not be more proud of them. This has been an exciting year of transition for our ECNL program and the energy, positive attitude, and some exciting developments have really had a great impact on our entire club. These girls are all deserving of this opportunity and we are sure that each will show well as individuals and collectively they will proudly represent Challenge. After a great showing at the Texas ECNL National Event (7 wins and 2 draws in 12 games) this is another event that our players can build upon while continuing to earn opportunities at the next level."

Player Development Programs (PDPs) are regionally-based identification and development programs within US Club Soccer’s id2 Program with three primary goals: 

(i) Provide the top players within specified elite leagues with an opportunity to be identified and evaluated for higher levels of play
(ii) Provide a high quality developmental experience

(iii) Recognize and reward individual performance and achievement.  

The ECNL PDP in Dallas will include a training session and two 11 vs. 11 games for each player. Top players from each ECNL PDP, along with other players scouted in ECNL competition throughout the year, will be considered for invitations to the ECNL / id2 National Training Camp in August and potential inclusion in US Youth National Team training camps. 

 The ECNL will be hosting nine PDP events across the country between February and May 2014, providing an opportunity for top players in every ECNL club. There are no player costs for participation and the ECNL covers all staffing, facility rental and equipment costs for each event. The only responsibility for participating players will be the cost of travel and accommodation (if necessary).    

About Elite Clubs National League:  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 the U.S. Soccer 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.  The Army National Guard is the official military branch of the ECNL.