Four Virginia clubs have embarked on the creation of a new Virginia travel soccer league called the Elite Development League (EDL). The EDL will play its inaugural season in spring 2013.
The founding clubs of the Elite Development League are the Chesterfield United Soccer Club, Culpeper Soccer Association, Dynamo Soccer Club and Fredericksburg Soccer Club, Inc.
“The objective of this league is to find clubs with common goals of player and coach development. By controlling the amount of travel, game schedules, quality of the fields and opponents, we can do a better job of enhancing the soccer environment,” said Steve Lovgren, Dynamo Director of Coaching.
According to a league press release, the EDL will operate under the philosophy that the strength of a club is determined by the quality of the club’s player development and coaching development programs, and therefore, the strength of the league will be determined by the strength of its member clubs. The league will imposes specific standards on all member clubs to ensure quality. Each club must meet certain coaching education requirements, curriculum requirements, and have a club-centric approach towards player development. The founding clubs are all in agreement that having standards ensures the uniqueness and quality of the league.
The EDL will launch with 5 clubs in 2013. The fifth club will be selected prior to launch, with the focus on quality over quantity.
Each year the Elite Development League also plans to host a tournament, with the inaugural EDL Columbus Day Invitational this past weekend in Richmond, Virginia. The tournament had 85 participating teams in its first year. All proceeds from the event go towards keeping the league fees low for member clubs. All EDL member clubs participate in this tournament.
The founding EDL clubs are playing “friendlies” against each other as a dry run ahead of the inaugural EDL season in Spring 2013. Marcello Manzano, the Technical Director with FSCI, has already seen marked improvement. “The ease of working with other soccer professionals to build this innovative league, speaks volumes. This league is unique in that considerable effort has gone towards the ensuring that the league’s organizational structure has less conflicts of interest and politics as seen in other travel leagues. The result is that the player is central in all decision making.”