Girls ECNL – Elite Clubs National League

The Minnesota Thunder Academy girls program was one of the 40 inaugural member clubs of the new Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) in 2009, creating the highest level of female youth soccer in the United States.

The ECNL was founded by forward-thinking Directors of Coaching across the country who saw a need for change in and special commitment to improving the daily environment for elite female youth soccer players. MTA Girls’ Director, Danny Storlien, was one of the founders of ECNL!

The ECNL continues to be the most progressive and innovative development platform in the country, and has become the top female youth development platform in the world.

  • Play on your HS team
  • Play high level, nationally
  • Maximum college exposure
  • Train with licensed coaches
  • Broadest path to college & professional soccer
  • Meaningful, competitive games
  • Of 3 million youth players in 10,000 clubs, ECNL Girls are the top 2% of players in the US – truly the ‘best of the best’
  • 10,000+ ECNL alums have graduated to the college game (DI, DII, DIII) since the league began in 2009

Minnesota Thunder Academy is the only club in Minnesota to be ranked in Top Drawer Soccer's 100 Top U.S. Girls Clubs


of the ECNL’s Amazing Young Women go on to play collegiate soccer every year and make an impact at the next level



ECNL teams are based in the Twin Cities metro area.  Players include those from hometowns in the Twin Cities as well as out-state Minnesota.

Please see the Tryouts / Girls Team Expectations page for information on the current season.

    MTA fields an ECNL team at all ages in the league:

    • U13
    • U14
    • U15            
    • U16
    • U17
    • U18/19

    + U12 Pre-ECNL team
    + U11 Pre-ECNL team 




    Training Frequency: average 3-4 contacts per week.

    Training Locations: Academy of Holy Angels (Richfield) and MTA Winter Park Training Facility (Eden Prairie)

    All ECNL players are strongly encouraged to sign up for Performance Training with Training HAUS, powered by Twin Cities Orthopedics. MTA players are offered discounted registration, and can train with TrainingHAUS before or after team training at our Winter Park facility. 


    Please see the Girls Team Expectations page under the Tryouts menu for current season information.

    Uniforms, team events, tournament registration fees, coach travel and personal travel expenses are not included in player fees.


    MTA ECNL teams typically participate in 1-3 of the ECNL National Events per year.
    The number of events depends on the age of the team.

    Florida, usually January and/or March
    Texas, usually February
    Missouri, months vary

    California, usually March – All Girls ECNL teams participate in the ECNL Southwest Showcase

    Arizona, usually April
    Greensboro NC usually May
    South Carolina, usually May
    ECNL National Playoffs: location varies each year (must qualify)
    ECNL National Finals: location varies each year (must qualify)


    There are 15 clubs in the ECNL Midwest Conference, spanning 8 states: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan. The conference competition season is from late October through early June.

    Chicago Inter Homer Glen, Illinois
    Eclipse Select SC Oak Brook, Illinois
    Gretna Elite Girls Academy Omaha, Nebraska
    FC Wisconsin Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    Liverpool FC Detroit, MI
    Kansas City Athletics Overland Park, Kansas
    Michigan Hawks Magic Livonia, Michigan
    Michigan Hawks Livonia, Michigan
    Midwest United Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Rockford Raptors FC Loves Park, Illinois
    St Louis Scott Gallagher – IL Collinsville, Illinois
    St Louis Scott Gallagher – MO St. Louis, Missouri
    Sporting Blue Valley Overland Park, Kansas
    Sporting Iowa Des Moines, Iowa
    Minnesota Thunder Academy Richfield, Minnesota



    Learn more about Minnesota Thunder Academy

    MTA Camps and Events take place throughout the year


    ” I cannot say enough about how much I appreciate the MTA program. As a father of a player who is working towards playing collegiate soccer, I wanted to give him the best opportunity to get first be coached by the best coaches in MN and secondly get some national exposure through ECNL.  I believe that he has gotten both. I cannot say enough about Mark Yueill, who is not just a great tactician, but has also showing the value of attitude and hard work.”
    Don R. – MTA Parent

    There is no doubt that Joe made his biggest improvements as a soccer player while at MTA. He was taught tactical as well as technical things that have served him increasingly well as he developed. Perhaps more importantly, his coach Mark Yuiell placed an equal importance on being a good team mate, respecting the officials and your opponents and being dedicated to your team. This is often overlooked, but character development was a central tenet of Joe’s education at MTA and we are thankful for the balance Mark demanded.

    Matthew H. – MTA Parent

    ” My daughter has not only improved her skills since being part of the MTA program, she has gained confidence and I cannot express how amazing it is to see her comfortable in an environment with her teammates, coaches and friends and free of anxiety and worries. It is truly a safe space for her and has been an incredible blessing to see her excited, happy and excelling. .”

    Amanda Jane F. – MTA Parent

    ” If you want to play college ball, especially outside of the midwest then MTA would be a great option” 

    Anny C. – MTA Parent

    ” The costs are up front, but you know what you are getting and have consistently high-quality facilities to train in, strong coaches available when training is to happen and focused on players’ success and expectation that post-club play is what all players want.”

    Michelle G. – MTA Parent

    The chemistry on my son’s team is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced and we feel much of that is due to the example set by the coaches and club directors. We didn’t know this kind of youth soccer existed in Minnesota and only wish we’d made the move earlier.

    Ashley B. – MTA Parent