ROCKFORD, Illinois | The 2019 ENPL postseason has arrived, and it begins with the ENPL National Playoff & 19-U ENPL National Finals, June 28-July 2, at Mercyhealth Sportscore Two in Loves Park.
For the 14-U through 17-U age groups, the ENPL National Playoff signifies the first step in earning national titles, as qualifiers from these divisions in Rockford, Illinois will advance to the ENPL National Finals, July 11-15 in Commerce City, Colorado.
For the oldest age group, the 19-U division, this Illinois event represents a single-stage postseason with a national title being awarded to the champion.
Welcome to the final day of the 2019 ENPL National Playoff and 19-U ENPL National Finals! It'll surely be an exciting one, as one national champion will be awarded and the younger age groups compete in a knockout round to determine qualifiers to Colorado.
Be sure to refer to the official schedule for your kickoff times and field assignments. And to the teams that didn’t advance to today, hold your heads high. Competing at this stage is an accomplishment in itself, and we know you’ll take valuable lessons and cherished memories home with you.
The 19-U ENPL National Finals matchup is set, and it’ll be a great one. NEFC Red NPL 00/01 (of the NEP-NPL Division) will face off against Concorde Fire ECNL 00/01 (of the Boys ECNL Southeast Conference) at 11 a.m. CT at field 219.
In the 19-U ENPL 2nd Division, Vision Soccer Academy NPL 00/01 (of the Central States NPL) and West Side Alliance NPL ’00 (of the Red River NPL) will play at 9 a.m. on field 219 to decide that bracket.
You may have seen it on Twitter last night, but in case you missed it: the teams qualifying for the ENPL National Finals in Colorado (14-U through 17-U age groups) will receive five complimentary hotel rooms for their players.
UPDATE (4:15 p.m. CT): An emotional day at Sportscore Two has wrapped up. On one side, there was jubilation, as the 19-U ENPL National Finals champion was crowned (NEFC), the 19-U ENPL 2nd Division champion determined (West Side Alliance) and 28 teams in the younger age groups (14-U through 17-U) clinched berths to the ENPL National Finals, July 11-15 in Colorado.
NEFC, of the NEP-NPL Division, defeated Concorde Fire, of the Boys ECNL Southeast Conference, 2-0, in a hard-fought match. Defense reigned supreme during most of the game, but NEFC broke through with a pair of goals in the final 20 minutes.
Be sure to check the @ENPLsoccer Twitter account for photos, in-game updates and more.
In the 19-U ENPL 2nd Division finale, West Side Alliance (Red River NPL) edged Vision Soccer Academy (Central States NPL), 4-3, in penalty kicks after a scoreless regulation and two 10-minute periods.
In the other fields in action Tuesday morning, 28 games determined 28 teams that advance to the ENPL National Finals, July 11-15 in Commerce City, Colorado. To view the qualifiers, please visit this web page. More coverage of that event is coming soon.
More updates to come. Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #ENPLplayoff.
The 19-U ENPL Nationals has progressed to the semifinals, and both games will be played at 1 p.m. CT:
On the ENPL National Playoff side, the 14-U through 17-U competitors play their final group stage games in hopes of qualifying to the knockout rounds.
UPDATE (7:15 a.m. CT): Due to significant rainfall over the past 24 hours, field 202 is not playable today. In the interest of player health and safety, and to ensure best possible game conditions, the games that were going to be played on field 202 will now be played on field 221.
More severe weather is in the forecast today. Be sure to follow @ENPLsoccer on Twitter for regular updates, including severe weather-related messages.
UPDATE (3:30 p.m. CT): Tomorrow's 19-U ENPL National Finals championship matchup is set: NEFC (via NEP NPL Division) vs. Concorde Fire (via Boys ECNL Southeast Conference). NEFC earned the berth after defeating the Rockford Raptors, 3-0, of which all three of its goals came late in the second half. In the other semifinal game this afternoon, Concorde Fire held off Santa Clara Sporting, earning a 2-1 victory.
It was also a critical day for the ENPL National Playoff participants, as group stages wrapped up today, sending qualifiers to tomorrow's knockout round with a berth to the ENPL National Finals in Colorado, July 11-15, on the horizon. Be sure to check the schedule for all the age groups (14-U, 15-U, 16-U and 17-U) for the latest scores and match-ups tomorrow.
Sunday is an abbreviated day, as it only features the 19-U ENPL National Finals tournament field playing at 10 a.m. and noon time slots.
The ENPL National Playoff takes a recovery day, and teams are encouraged to recharge in whatever ways are best for them. Some have been doing recovery pool sessions at their hotels, while others will take day trips to explore the area. And other teams will cheer on the 19-U age group at Sportscore Two.
It's a critical day for the oldest age group, as the field narrows to just four teams on Monday. Four teams have won both their games and two more have each won once and tied once. Here is the schedule, and here are the standings.
UPDATE (1:30 p.m. CT): The second halves of the second games of the day are being moved to the indoor field, due to severe weather. Those four games will be completed one-by-one as follows:
On the opening day, it was great to see so many college coaches peppering the sidelines. There are about 120 registered on this list of attending coaches (UPDATE: July 3 - the final count was nearly 150). Undoubtedly, the ENPL is recognized as a top boys level of competition.
The second day of group stage is critical. Teams that fell short on Friday need to rebound on Saturday and earn points, while the teams that already have three points to their names must continue to play with urgency to stay atop the standings.
UPDATE (3 p.m. CT): The intensity rose with the temperatures on Saturday - a stark contrast to the conditions yesterday. Cool and windy conditions changed to heat and humidity today. Because of that, US Club Soccer enforced mandatory water breaks at the midway point of every half, beginning with the 11 a.m. time slot.
NPLs and Boys ECNLs continue to represent their leagues/conferences and platforms well.
Friday is the opening day of the tournament, as more than 200 teams from NPLs and Boys ECNL Conferences around the country converge on Rockford, Illinois with National Finals qualification (14-U through 17-U) or National Finals titles (19-U) in their sights.
Keep up with the schedule (and forthcoming results) here. As the ENPL enters its second year of postseason opportunities for top youth boys teams, a few teams are looking to further cement their names in the foundation of the platform. Four champions and finalists from last year's ENPL National Finals among 14-U through 17-U age groups are back again this summer for a chance at more notoriety.
UPDATE (8:30 p.m. CT): The first day was always intended to be a long one with time slots at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., but it ended up being even a little longer. Severe weather passed over the facility, causing a delay of about an hour and a half. The delay came at halftime of the 9 a.m. games, so most of the immediate ensuing games at 11 a.m. and even 1 p.m. were also affected - unless teams played games at the indoor field or on one of the two fields without games at 9 a.m.
But, teams were resilient and fought through the challenges. Severe weather protocol is that one horn blast signifies that teams to immediately evacuate the fields and seek shelter in their cars. Three horn blasts signifies that teams may return to the fields. Lightning that strikes within 10 miles of the facility begins that delay of a minimum of 30 minutes. Follow @ENPLsoccer on Twitter for regular updates every day, including severe weather-related messages.
The two defending ENPL National Finals champions and two 2018 ENPL National Finals runners up took the field today in Illinois in their quests to return to Colorado. In the 17-U age group, GPS MA '02 (defending champ) tied, while Penn Fusion '02 (last year's runner up) earned a win. And in the 15-U division, TSC Hurricane (defending champ) won and Phoenix Rising FC (last year's runner up) tied.