Elite Clubs National League (Girls)

In 2009, the Minnesota Thunder Academy girls program was announced as one of the 40 inaugural member clubs of the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL), 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 American elite female youth soccer players. In fact, our own DOC, Danny Storlien, was one of the founders of ECNL! These directors came together and collaborated to build what has become the top female youth development platform in the world.  Sanctioned by US Club Soccer, the ECNL continues to be the most progressive and innovative development platform in the country.

Minnesota Thunder Academy is proud to be the only Minnesota club selected to compete in the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) for both boys and girls.

Chicago Inter Homer Glen, Illinois
Eclipse Select SC Oak Brook, Illinois
Gretna Elite Girls Academy Omaha, Nebraska
FC Wisconsin Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Kansas City Athletics Overland Park, Kansas
Liverpool FC Detroit, MI
Michigan Hawks Livonia, Michigan
Michigan Hawks Magic Livonia, Michigan
Midwest United Grand Rapids, Michigan
Minnesota Thunder Academy Richfield, Minnesota
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

The Elite Clubs National League has had an incredible impact on all levels of women’s soccer since its founding in 2009.

Over 90% of the ECNL’s Amazing Young Women go on to play collegiate soccer every year and make an impact at the next level as cataloged in the ECNL’s College Impact series.

ECNL 2019

1629 players:
1156 playing Collegiate Soccer
– 847 playing Division
– 309 playing Division II, III & Other

Over 1,100 college bound athletes in the class of 2019.  Girls ECNL is the top youth female development platform in the world.


2018 Big Ten Forward of the Year –  MTA’s own: April Bocking

ECNL vs. GA – Which Soccer League is the Best?

If the ultimate goal is to play in college, the answer is fairly clear on the female side — ECNL.  In comparison to the National League or the NPL, the level of commitment is much higher and the rules are a little more strict in the ECNL, but the competition level is higher and the women’s ECNL events are well-attended by top college scouts and coaches.  The organization of the league is top notch and exposure is assured.  ECNL is clearly the preferred format for top colleges. Currently, the easiest path to professional women’s soccer is still through the college ranks, so leveraging the ECNL through college works best. “

read the article

What exactly is the ECNL?
ECNL Phoenix 2022 National event recap

May 2021 #34

MTA is consistently the ONLY  Minnesota Club in the Top 100!
to see the list

Registration will open in the spring

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


+ U12 Pre-ECNL
+ U11 Pre-ECNL

Training Frequency: average 3-4 contacts per week.

Primary Training Location:
Academy of Holy Angels (Richfield)

Other possible locations:
Richfield High School
Breck School
National Sports Center
Brooklyn Park Dome

All ECNL players are strongly encouraged to register for TCO/Training HAUS Strength & Performance Training sessions.

Please see the Girls Team Expectations page under the Tryouts menu for Player fees

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

ECNL League games:
ECNL Midwest Conference -14 games

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
Texas, usually February/March
Florida, usually March
Arizona, usually April
New Jersey, usually May
South Carolina, usually May
ECNL National Playoffs:  location varies each year (must qualify)
ECNL National Finals:  location varies each year (must qualify)

GIRLS Expected teams & coaches, 2023-24
Girls College ID Camp
ECNL Tryout schedule

Why Choose MTA

  • Year-round training with the top talent in Minnesota.

  • Highly-qualified coaches with US Soccer & NSCAA accreditation.

  • Perfect for serious players who seek a high level of competition.

  • Gain visibility to collegiate scouts and national team coaches.

What Parents Say

MTA provides elite coaching and technical training other clubs cannot match. They also understand how to prepare the kids for the next level.

The kids that gravitate to MTA push each other to be better soccer players while being good people.

The coaching is consistent. It doesn’t matter who the coach is or what level—Each and every coach is teaching the players how to possess the ball and increasing their soccer IQ. We are always please with the methods.

The training, teaching of ball control and footwork, and knowledge of game strategy is hands above community clubs.

Training is great! If you want to play college soccer MTA is heads above everyone else.

As the years go by, our son is growing so much as a player and we are excited for his future with the club

Great coaching staff!


Challenging every player, at every level, thereby giving an equal opportunity to develop to anyone who wants it.

The coaching and training is excellent as well as the facilities for winter training.

MTA provides a safe and effective training environment.  They provide top level coaching for the elite teams and challenge the players to develop their skills.

MTA provides opportunities for soccer players who are very dedicated to the sport through great coaching and playing opportunities.

My son’s coach truly cares about him and every player on his team.

Camps & Clinics

Minnesota Thunder Academy offers Thunder Edge Skills Training as well as various camps & clinics throughout the calendar year, open to MTA and non-MTA players.  Participation in MTA camps and clinics provides an alternative to private lessons and private training.

MTA’s Juniors Camp is designed to introduce players to the core training & tactical activities that coaches implement within MTA Juniors Academy. The experience emphasizes the values and philosophy of the MTA program, and is open to all players, regardless of club affiliation (non-MTA & MTA).

Learn more about Juniors Camp >>

MTA ECNL-NPL Camp is designed to introduce players to the core training and tactical activities that coaches implement with the MTA ECNL and Minnesota-NPL teams. The experience emphasizes the values and philosophy of the MTA program so the players have an understanding of what evaluation criteria are used during the tryout process.

Learn more about the ECNL-NPL Camp >>

MTA’s Girls College Soccer ID Camp, open to all, is hosted by MTA and is designed to introduce players to some of the top coaches in the midwest while competing with other top girls from Minnesota.

Learn more about the Girls College ID Camp >>

MTA’s Father & Son Soccer Camp is an exceptionally unique soccer camp that will build magical memories and top flight soccer skills. Each participant receives individual and group instruction in a fun environment designed to help kids maximize their playing potential and help dads shake some rust off to learn (or relearn) some skills.

Learn more about the Father & Son Camp >>

No school? Have some fun and improve your soccer skills on Martin Luther King Jr Day!
Open to all players, regardless of club affiliation (non-MTA & MTA).

Learn more about the School's Out Skills Camp >>

Take your game to the next level!  Minnesota Thunder Academy’s Thunder Edge Training Sessions offer professional training for all players at all skill levels in a fun but challenging age-appropriate environment. Open to all players, regardless of club affiliation (non-MTA & MTA).

Learn more about ThunderFoot Skills Training >>

MTA Players Have Represented