NCSL State of the League

NCSL State of the League


NCSL Member Clubs:

As the summer rolls in and the 2017-18 soccer season draws to a close, we wanted to reach out to thank you for your strong support of the National Capital Soccer League, and to give you a brief preview of what is to come in 2018-19.

  • • As a league, we are as strong as we have ever been. With approximately 1100 teams playing in one of the largest and most well-known promotion/relegation leagues in the country, we are proud to be in a position to offer each of our teams the competitive games they desire at every level in a flexible league structure that takes seriously its responsibility to balance the needs of clubs, teams, parents, coaches, referees, assignors, and field administrators. We think, with your support, we do this as well or better than anyone. And we will continue to do so.
  • • We define NCSL as a club-centric league, playing in a pro/rel environment. To us, that means that we work hard to deliver on our promise to put our clubs first, offering flexibility where useful and creative programming where needed. Accordingly, we launched the Elite Spring Series this season, and after hearing from our Maryland clubs,
  • we will be expanding that offering to become the Elite Soccer Series in the upcoming season. Maryland and West Virginia clubs (and Virginia applicants) whose teams are sitting out in the Fall due to high school soccer will now have the opportunity through the Elite Soccer Series to play in a shortened, entirely flexible season of 3 to 4 games. The "low-impact" shortened season will assist those clubs that want to continue a year-round program without overburdening their high-school players. The ESS is open to teams U15 and above, and questions about that program should be directed to me or to Alison Smith (
  • • We are blessed with a hard-working and professional Executive Committee and a dedicated Board of Directors, one of the best administrators in all of soccer in Kathleen, and two fabulous assistants in Dotty and Alison. We will soon be adding an Executive Director to further enhance our ability to provide the very best administrative support for our clubs, to communicate more effectively with our clubs, and to enhance our future league offerings.
  • • We continue to take the lead in the effort to improve soccer refereeing and to support referees against abuse when needed. Every league in our market area draws from the same pool, and we have worked hard to improve it, offering educational resources and mentoring, informal assessments, and utilization of the tool. We are


  • working with State Associations now to improve the STAR process and to further improve the training and mentoring processes so that we can help improve the number and quality of referees available to all leagues.
  • • We will continue to improve on our revolutionary approach to U9-U10 competition, even as we watch other leagues try to duplicate it. We will put a a greater emphasis this year on matching teams geographically for our back-to-back scheduling, and we will maintain our focus on providing competitive balance. With the Board’s approval last month, we are now in the position to expand that approach to the U11 ranks as well, as we no longer are burdened by random division structures at that age.
  • • We also continue to herald and support the successes of our athletes and coaches. We have been in awe of our teams’ successes on and off the pitch and have truly enjoyed reading about the achievements of your players, teams, and coaches through your Twitter postings and emails. Congratulations! And please keep those Twitter postings coming by tagging us @NCSL2.
  • • And for those NCSL teams who were crowned Champions of their state-level State and President’s Cup competitions, we will support you financially as you prepare to travel to Regionals in Virginia and West Virginia. Those who win Regionals and qualify for the National Championships will receive support for that effort as well. No paperwork is required. Just let me know of your success and the proper contact information. There is a good chance that I will attend both regional competitions as well, so if you see me cheering for your teams on the pitch, please stop by and say hello.

Finally, we know that many of you have questions about EDP and what the latest round of changes to the Region 1 Premier League/Region 1 Champions League/Eastern Regional League mean for local leagues like NCSL, VPL, and CCL. Many of you have similarly asked about the dramatic increase in the number of ECNL and Development Academy programs in the area as those two programs fight with each other over supremacy.

Fortunately, at NCSL, we think we are very well-positioned to weather these changes. As a large pro/rel league, we have the ability to provide appropriate competitive environments at all levels and that does not change when a small handful of clubs shift programs to add to or subtract numbers from our league. We simply move forward, placing all applicants in the appropriate competitive environment. It’s what we do best.

That said, we are also continuing to explore additional opportunities for our clubs and teams. Whether ultimately that includes partnerships with USYS or US Club Soccer is currently unknown. But you have our commitment that we will continue to work with all of you in constant dialogue, and you know that we will continue to work in your best interest and in the best interest of your players while not compromising our principles.


Richard Smith