Rapids Youth Soccer is delighted to improve its elite player development pathway with two further tiers of exciting and challenging competition. 

The concept of a second tier of playing teams has been in delivery since August 2021. The rationale behind the project was to provide more players who were close to the tier 1 “ECNL” level the opportunity to practice and play together whilst remaining full-time players within their region and select teams.

In the 2022/23 season, the teams entered a new elite competition administered by USYS called ‘Elite 64’ (E64). This was a platform that delivered a season-long league format against clubs from CO, UT, and AZ, building towards participation in the National Playoffs at the end of the year. This addressed an important need for the groups, in that the club no longer had to find and create a games schedule that did not suit everyone, and clubs were hesitant to play due to clashes in their own calendar.

Now we are able to bolster the pathway further with the creation of full-time teams at 13u-19u competing in ECRL (tier 2) and E64 platforms (tier 3) based in the following locations:

ECRL GIRLS NORTH | Big Dry Creek, Westminster & Trail Winds, Thornton

ECRL GIRLS SOUTH | Gates South, Centennial

ECRL BOYS | Aurora Sports Park, Aurora

ELITE 64 GIRLS | Douglas County Fairgrounds, Castle Rock

ELITE 64 BOYS | Big Dry Creek, Westminster & Trail Winds, Thornton

The selection process for ECRL & E64 will come from participation in the Elite Department ‘Kickarounds’ due to begin in early May.

All current Elite Development Squad (EDS) and Elite 64 players will be automatically invited to these with a view to building out teams at ECNL, ECRL, and E64 Levels.

Additionally, we ask the Directors of Coaching across the Club to work in close collaboration with the coaches at Select level teams to identify and nominate those who they feel have a skill set that would allow them to push toward these teams.

There will also be supplementary kickarounds for players interested in the ECRL and E64 platforms held within those host regions. The Directors of Coaching will distribute information on these dates and venues in mid-April.

For players external to the club, should you be interested in participating in these events, please complete your information in the ‘Interest Form’ below. Please bear in mind that to effectively manage the responses, the player’s experience and the current competition level are important parts of our ability to understand if the tryout process would be appropriate for each player. To this end, we cannot always offer this opportunity to everyone who completes the form.

In Development – To Be Announced

In Development – To Be Announced

In Development – To Be Announced

Overview

Rapids Youth Soccer is delighted to improve its elite player development pathway with two further tiers of exciting and challenging competition. 

The concept of a second tier of playing teams has been in delivery since August 2021. The rationale behind the project was to provide more players who were close to the tier 1 “ECNL” level the opportunity to practice and play together whilst remaining full-time players within their region and select teams.

In the 2022/23 season, the teams entered a new elite competition administered by USYS called ‘Elite 64’ (E64). This was a platform that delivered a season-long league format against clubs from CO, UT, and AZ, building towards participation in the National Playoffs at the end of the year. This addressed an important need for the groups, in that the club no longer had to find and create a games schedule that did not suit everyone, and clubs were hesitant to play due to clashes in their own calendar.

Now we are able to bolster the pathway further with the creation of full-time teams at 13u-19u competing in ECRL (tier 2) and E64 platforms (tier 3) based in the following locations:

ECRL GIRLS NORTH | Big Dry Creek, Westminster & Trail Winds, Thornton

ECRL GIRLS SOUTH | Gates South, Centennial

ECRL BOYS | Aurora Sports Park, Aurora

ELITE 64 GIRLS | Douglas County Fairgrounds, Castle Rock

ELITE 64 BOYS | Big Dry Creek, Westminster & Trail Winds, Thornton

Selection Process

The selection process for ECRL & E64 will come from participation in the Elite Department ‘Kickarounds’ due to begin in early May.

All current Elite Development Squad (EDS) and Elite 64 players will be automatically invited to these with a view to building out teams at ECNL, ECRL, and E64 Levels.

Additionally, we ask the Directors of Coaching across the Club to work in close collaboration with the coaches at Select level teams to identify and nominate those who they feel have a skill set that would allow them to push toward these teams.

There will also be supplementary kickarounds for players interested in the ECRL and E64 platforms held within those host regions. The Directors of Coaching will distribute information on these dates and venues in mid-April.

For players external to the club, should you be interested in participating in these events, please complete your information in the ‘Interest Form’ below. Please bear in mind that to effectively manage the responses, the player’s experience and the current competition level are important parts of our ability to understand if the tryout process would be appropriate for each player. To this end, we cannot always offer this opportunity to everyone who completes the form.

Dates & Deadlines

In Development – To Be Announced

Travel Expectations

In Development – To Be Announced

Travel Policy

In Development – To Be Announced

Rapids Youth Soccer =

Developing Talent Solution

The Tier II and Tier III programs solve the problems found in the elite development pathway. By providing additional levels of elite programming, we give players more time and space to grow while providing exposure to elite environments.

CRYSC Player Pathway

The inclusion of ECRL and E64 teams in the player pathway will provide support for emerging talent and players not quite ready to sustain involvement in the ECNL program. Additionally, if an ECNL player is not appropriately placed or doesn’t feel comfortable in the Elite program, then there is a level very close by where they can continue to grow and develop with high-quality players.

pathway update

ECRL / E64 FAQs

The US has many ‘National Platforms’ that all claim to be the home for developing elite level talent in the country. Elite Club national League (ECNL) in our opinion is the prominent platform for youth clubs in developing talent. ECNL split the nation across multiple divisions from age groups 13u-19u where the best of those States compete annually to win the right to progress to National Playoffs, and then National Championships, where an eventual age winner on the boys and girls side is found. This is the Youth Club’s top tier for developing talent.

ECNL also offers a second tier, ECNL Regional League (ECRL). This is for clubs who are looking for more development opportunities against some top clubs across the country, but aren’t quite competing at that top tier level. ECNL has been developing these divisions in recent years as interest in breaking into that top tier has increased. We consider our participation in this platform as an excellent accompaniment to our top Tier, where players can pass between programs should the need and circumstances suit.

Elite 64 (E64) is a National Platform led by United States Youth Soccer (USYS). USYS are the governing body for all the State run leagues, such as Colorado Soccer Association (CSA). E64 was created in 2022/23 season as a step beyond that of State competition at age groups 13u-19u. We chose to participate in E64 for similar reasons to ECRL, in that we believe it offers players the opportunity to experience a higher level of competition than is available in State, along with more college coach exposure at their events. Similar to ECNL and ECRL, they have end of year playoffs flowing into National Championships, where exposure is good. We provide this as our Tier 3 offering.

We understand it is difficult at times to make sense of the alphabet soup of leagues. Our platforms are designed to suit what we feel are the needs of our membership. Having multiple platforms at different stages of development allows us to offer further opportunities to players who may be looking for additional challenges. We recognize that exposure to college coaches for those who wish to play beyond High School is important, and we don’t want to limit that to only a select few at the top of our pathway. Finally, being a club of 12,000+ members is a difficult ship to steer at times, and a barrier to participation can be the distance players need to travel to find the right opportunity. By utilizing these platforms, it allows us to spread these tier 2 and 3 opportunities across the 100 miles of the front-range we serve, and reduce the limits that may exist to these players challenging themselves

ECNL Boys & Girls | Elite Performance Center at Regis University

ECRL Girls North | Future Legends Complex, Windsor

ECRL Girls South | Gates South Complex

E64 Girls | Douglas County Fairgrounds, Castle Rock

E64 Boys | Future Legends Complex, Windsor

Yes. All these teams will be full-time.

Yes. The current plan is for them to play in CSA league play too.

ECNL remains the destination that we will be pushing our top talented boys and girls towards, and their base of operations is the Elite Performance Center at Regis University. In considering how we best allow for the next tier of talent to develop without the barrier of geography, we requested to ECNL that we be granted 2 clubs in order to increase accessibility. We fully believe that as one club we have a responsibility to create opportunities that make sense for our members, and knowing that all 5 of our regions have a depth of quality at various ages and stages meant that ensuring the pathway was accessible for those players was important to us. We are delighted to bring what we believe will be 12 competitive girls teams to ECRL in season 2023/24.

Internal kickarounds will be taking place through the month of April and May as we look to build our ECNL roster for 2023/24 season. Players from ECNL and EDS will all receive an invite to those kickarounds with a view to building as many of the following teams as possible:

  • ECNL Boys and Girls
  • ECRL Girls North & South
  • E64 Girls

Based on the regional coach, EDS coach, and ECNL coach’s feedback, players will be offered a spot on these teams as selected. Information on the dates and times of the kickarounds will be coming in the weeks ahead.

For Rapids Youth Soccer players not currently in the EDS or ECNL program, the Director of Coaching in each region will be asked to provide any further recommendations to attend kickarounds. This makes sure that the players attending kickarounds are amongst the level we are seeking to place on these new teams. If you require further information in this area please reach out to your Director of Coaching.

Additionally, kickarounds supplemental to the Regis based ones will be arranged in May, hosted by the region housing the programs (e.g. ECRL Girls North – Kickarounds held in Windsor). This will allow players outside the EDS programs to have access to further roster spots available.

For players who are not currently Rapids Youth Soccer players but are interested in trying out, you should complete the ‘player interest’ form available from either the Boys or Girls ECNL, ECRL, or E64 section of the website – ECNL Home Page

Once you have selected either the boys or girls pathway, click on the ‘Interest Form’ button and complete the information. That will be sent directly to the Elite Director, where a shortlist of players will be invited. This is based on a number of factors, including the level of play you are currently involved with.

We will confirm the costs of the program once the final resources are created.

Yes. For example, if you are offered a spot in ECRL Girls North, but you attend the North, Central, South, or Castle Rock region, then you are able to accept that spot. It will obviously be your choice, depending upon personal circumstances; however, you are able to do this.

Practice days will most likely be Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with game days over the weekend.

ECNL Boys teams in season 2023/24:

  • Mountain Division: 12 Team league split into 2 mini leagues with teams from CO, UT, and AZ
  • Approximately 3 Out of State League travel days to UT and AZ
  • Approximately 2 Showcase events per year with National Playoffs on qualification

ECNL Girls teams in season 2023/24:

  • Texas Conference: 16-team division
  • Approximately 3 Out of State League travel days to TX
  • Approximately 2 Showcase events per year with National Playoffs on qualification

ECRL Girls in season 2023/24:

  • Colorado & Utah Conference
  • 8 Team League: 6 Colorado Clubs / 2 Utah Clubs
  • Approximately  Out of State League travel days
  • Approximately 2 Showcase events per year with National Playoffs on qualification
  • Teams will play in CSA as well

E64 Girls Season 2023/24:

  • 8 Team League: 4 CO, 2 UT, 2 AZ (TBC)
  • Approximately 3 Out of State League travel days
  • Approximately 2 Showcase events per year with National Playoffs on qualification
  • Teams will play in CSA as well

E64 Boys Season 2023/24:

  • 8 Team League: 4 CO, 2 UT, 2 AZ (TBC)
  • Approximately 3 Out of State League travel days
  • Approximately 2 Showcase events per year with National Playoffs on qualification
  • Teams will play in CSA as well

We are currently in the process of recruiting the Head Coaches and will have them in place before the end of the CSA season.

Yes. We will be devolving that responsibility to the Director of Goalkeeping from each region, with a direct line to the Elite Director of Goalkeeping.

Potentially. Former Director of the Elite Development Squad, Jair Vasquez, will have a new role at the club alongside Director of Recruitment Diego Cerro. It will be Jair’s responsibility to coordinate scrimmage opportunities between tiers 1, 2, and 3 and understand the potential for player movement. The pathway between ECNL and ECRL is a seamless one in that once a player is registered to a single ECNL club, they are eligible to play in both ECNL and ECRL without taking up an additional roster spot, another positive reason for this development pathway.

Similarly, with the tier 3 E64 league we will look to create opportunities for player movement from here into ECRL or ECNL. Further registration adjustments are required here; however, movement is a possibility should it suit the needs and circumstances of each case.

Yes, but only at 11U and 12U. That remains a key part of the early identification process for the 13U Elite Pathway. It will remain housed out of the Elite Department at Regis University. It will not continue beyond those ages.