ECNL Girls Introduces Three New Clubs for 2021-22 Season

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RICHMOND, VA (March 16, 2021) – The ECNL Girls is excited to announce the addition of Cleveland Force (OH), Kings Hammer (KY), and Midwest United FC (MI) for the upcoming 2021-22 season. The addition of Cleveland Force and Kings Hammer into the Ohio Valley Conference, and Midwest United into the Midwest Conference, will elevate the competition level within both conferences, while also creating a better overall structure. Since its inception, the ECNL has fostered the next generation of collegiate and professional athletes through a complete dedication to facilitating the comprehensive development of the best players, coaches and clubs in the country.

“We are thrilled to welcome Cleveland Force, Kings Hammer and Midwest United to the ECNL,” said ECNL Girls Commissioner Jen Winnagle. “These new additions will continue to add quality to both the Midwest and Ohio Valley Conferences, providing more top players and teams with the opportunity to compete in the ECNL platform.”

Along with the introduction of these three new clubs, ECNL Girls will also welcome the re-branded and restructured Liverpool FC Michigan to the Midwest Conference.  Created through a merger between current ECNL club Vardar SC and Liverpool Michigan, part of the Liverpool International Academy system, the combined organization will have teams at all age levels in the ECNL.

Cleveland Force
Cleveland, OH

Cleveland Force Soccer Club is Northern Ohio’s largest soccer program with more than 5,000 players, ages 2-19, made up of community affiliates, club affiliates, and full-time registered players. The organization provides soccer players an unparalleled club structure, focused on empowering intelligent, humble and hard-working boys and girls who approach goals with a positive outlook, both on and off the field. Cleveland Force develops and challenges players from start to finish by being the innovators in the evolution of soccer development through the integration of community clubs, premier clubs and the best competition available across the country.

“Cleveland Force Soccer Club is excited to become a new member of the ECNL Girls for the 2021-22 season,” said Rob Miller, Girls Director. “The strength of the ECNL in terms of the exposure, competition, club collaboration and educational opportunities are unmatched. Having the ability to compete against the very best clubs in the country will provide our players with a development path into college and beyond. A pathway that now includes the ECNL and the ECNL Regional League gives us the ability to develop and showcase future generations of the top talent in Northeast Ohio. We look forward to collaborating with all member clubs in a continued effort to raise the game both regionally and nationally.”

Kings Hammer
Covington, KY

Kings Hammer’s mission is to positively impact the development of young people by providing soccer and educational opportunities to players of all ages and playing abilities and to create a lifelong passion for the sport of soccer. The club plays an active role in the leadership, development and personal growth of its athletes and staff by being an active member of the community through service, partnerships and programs. Kings Hammer’s ultimate goal as a club is to encourage, inspire and empower each player and coach to be able to reach the highest level possible within the game and their lives, while helping develop leaders and individuals who will inspire others to do the same.

“Kings Hammer is extremely excited to join the ECNL with our Academy girls program,” Chris Black, Kings Hammer Academy Girls Director. “The consistency and strength of the ECNL has made the league the top platform in the country for many years. The conference competition along with the national showcases will create a strong development environment and provide exceptional opportunities for Kings Hammer players.  We look forward to competing against top clubs and coaches across the country in 2021-22.”

Midwest United FC
Grand Rapids, MI

Midwest United FC was established in 2015, though its roots trace back to elite soccer in Michigan since 1990. The club’s mission is to provide the players in Western Michigan a quality soccer program to promote the growth of, and appreciation for, the beautiful game. With more than 80 teams across all age groups, Midwest United FC continues to work diligently to ensure each player reaches their full potential and has been successful in doing so, with more than 500 alumni committing to collegiate soccer.

“We are very excited for the opportunity and can’t wait to get started in the ECNL this fall,” said Lewis Robinson, Midwest United Director of Coaching. “We can’t wait to see our players compete in the ECNL on the regional and national stage alongside the top clubs and players in the country. Thanks to all of our players, families, and staff for their continued support and work to create this opportunity and we’re really looking forward to getting to work in the fall!”


About the ECNL:

The ECNL is the nation’s leading youth soccer development platform. The ECNL respects and celebrates the unique individuality of every youth soccer player and club, supporting and enabling them to unleash their unfettered passion and fierce tenacity in striving to achieve their potential.

The ECNL mission to Raise the Game is a total commitment to create the best possible environment for players, coaches, referees and administrators, with a determination to constantly question convention and challenge the status quo in youth sports.

The ECNL Commitment:

We will lead, set our eyes on new horizons, and pursue them relentlessly. Born out of the belief in a better way. Continued in the ever-evolving pursuit of excellence.

Girls FB:  /theECNL |  Girls IG: @theECNL  | Girls TW: @theECNL

Tryout FAQ’s

How do I register for tryouts?
ALL soccer-athletes MUST COMPLETE the tryout registration online before participating in the tryout process. Click here to register now!

*Please make sure that you register online at least 24 hours in advance to ensure that the soccer athlete is in the system and we have your information to notify you after the tryout process.  There is a Registration Steps document on the Tryouts page that will walk you through the process. Each soccer athlete should attend both tryout days if possible. If you are unable to attend both days please reach out to the Program Director listed below.

Birth Years for the 2022/2023 Season
For the 2022/2023 season, Kings Hammer will follow U.S Youth Soccer’s guidelines and will organize its teams by birth year:

*Interested players must register to try out for their birth year.

Can my child play up an age group?
Any player playing up will be at the discretion of their respective director. All players need to register and attend the tryout for their correct age group.

What should I wear/bring to tryouts?
Please come prepared with a fully inflated soccer ball, proper footwear, shin guards, and water. Each prospective soccer-athlete will receive one free Kings Hammer Soccer Club tryout t-shirt with a tryout identification number on the back of the t-shirt.  Each prospective player will be identified by the identification number throughout the process and MUST wear this t-shirt at each tryout session for the 2022/2023 soccer year.

We will not be able to attend tryouts or are new to the area and missed tryouts. Is there a process in place to allow for an alternate tryout?
Yes! If you are not able to attend tryouts or missed the tryout dates, please register and then contact the Director for the Program/Age Group you wish to tryout for so that arrangements can be made. We also hold supplemental tryouts throughout the year. Roster openings may be limited after the initial tryout period.

What are the differences between Academy and Premier?
Our Academy provides a highly competitive environment for higher-level soccer athletes. This program provides those athletes with the best local training offered by our qualified and professional staff. Our Academy teams play at the highest possible level providing showcase opportunities to College, Professional, and National level programs.

The Premier Program is a community-based program. The Premier Program provides the opportunity for players to play other sports or have other interests outside of soccer. This program is designed to be flexible, convenient, and affordable.

Can I try out for multiple programs?
We encourage anyone who wants to tryout for all levels to do so. Current KHSC players can ask their coach/director for guidance if they are unsure about which program to tryout for. You will need to register for each tryout separately.

If I tryout for a program and don’t make it, can I try out for another program?
Yes. If you don’t make an Academy team, we strongly encourage you to tryout for a Premier team, attending tryouts for at least one day.

If you don’t make a Premier team, the Classic Program may be an option. Contact Michelle Okumura ( if you’d like to pursue this option.

Will there be more than one team in each age group?
Yes, when possible, there will be more than one team per age group, per program. It all depends on the number of players at tryouts and their skill level.

If my child doesn’t make the top team, can they move up during the year?
Yes, there may be opportunities to move up throughout the year as long as the coach/director feels it is in the best interest of the player’s development. There may also be opportunities to guest play across all levels.

What can I expect after tryouts?
After tryouts you can expect communication from the club in the form of an email.  (Please double-check that your email is correct in the PlayMetrics system, this is the email we use) This will either be an acceptance email, offering your child a position on a team, or an email letting you know that they should tryout for a different program. Players who are offered positions on a team may also receive a phone call from their coach. All communication will come within 24-48 hours of the end of the last tryout. You will then have 24 hours to either accept or decline your email before your spot is offered to another child.

What are the next steps if my child makes a team?

  1. If you are new to the club, you will receive more information regarding your uniform ordering in your confirmation email.
  2. If you are part of the Academy or Premier Programs, you will receive the link to Demosphere to register your child in the state system in your confirmation email as well.

How long is the season?

  • Academy
    • U11-U14: August-November, January-May (possible post-season in June)
    • U15-U19: November-May
  • Premier
    • U7-U14: August-October, March-May
    • U15-U19: November-December, March-May

My child is in middle school but plays on a U15 team. Will there be a fall U15 program for trapped players?
Yes, we will offer a program for trapped 8th graders for the fall season depending on interest. The program will run from August to October and is open to players that are currently in the 8th grade that will be playing on a U15 team starting in November 2022. Questions please contact:

Academy North: Ryan Handbury |
Academy South Boys: James Thomas |
Academy South Girls: Chris Black |
Academy Bluegrass Boys: Dan Ensley  |
Academy Bluegrass Girls: Megan Adkins |

Can a team come to the club and join as a team?
Yes! The team can join the Classic Program. For more information please reach out to Michelle Okumura at

Who is in charge of hiring coaches?
If you are interested in a coaching opportunity, please fill out the following coaching form –

Program Directors:

Academy North: Ryan Handbury |
Academy South Girls: Chris Black |
Academy South Boys: James Thomas |
Academy Bluegrass Boys: Dan Ensley |
Academy Bluegrass Girls: Megan Adkins |
Premier Xenia: Brent Lewis |
Premier North: Wil Cagle |
Premier Sycamore: Ryan Handbury |
Premier Central: Michael Ratliff |
Premier South: David Shemilt |
Premier Versailles: Brandon Cummons |
Premier Lexington: Fonyam Atanga |