• August 5, 2020

The 2020-21 ECNL season has officially begun, and we should all be prepared for it to be a season unlike any before.


As we all continue to manage through the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, soccer has begun to return in some form in almost all areas of the country.  While some clubs are playing with few restrictions, others remain training in a socially distant manner, but we all continue to look forward optimistically, and are thankful to be on a path back to the game.


A few months ago, the ECNL appointed our first Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Drew Watson.  Since that time, Dr. Watson’s advice, counsel and expertise have been incredibly valuable as we have prepared Return to Training and Return to Competition recommendations, and as we have evaluated many other situations impacting the league, our clubs and players, and the sport. We are grateful for the perspective that Dr. Watson has provided and will continue to provide moving forward.


Today, the league is releasing a new resource created by Dr. Watson, entitled “A Balancing Act: Understanding the Impacts of Inactivity on Youth Athletes.” This document (found by clicking here or scroll down) provides important perspective and new data on the impact of the pandemic-driven suspension of activities on youth athletes. Our hope is that this document will support ongoing dialogue and discussion in determining the best approaches for managing risk as the pandemic continues to evolve over the coming months, and as we all attempt to support our players, membership, and community through these times.


As Dr. Watson states so well, we should all be “prioritizing data-driven discussions with local governments, policy makers, sports organizations, and families to promote a cooperative path toward improving the health of our young athletes within the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”  This is an attempt to do so.


Thank you for being a member of our League, and thank you for all you do for the game and players.