The Club Directory includes information about various leagues, who runs them and which clubs are in them.
This page has more detail and context, but …
Disclaimer: If you’re shopping for a club, remember that clubs with a team in an “elite” league may not be “better” than neighboring clubs. Some “clubs” have a full range of services from the very highest level to recreational programs for all ages. Some are much smaller, which may or may not be a good thing.
National leagues (MLS Next, GA, the ECNL, the U.S. Youth Soccer National League) are described in detail here.
The reason we have overlapping leagues is complicated, and it starts at a more local level. US Club Soccer (yes, no periods) launched in 2001 to provide a more nimble alternative to U.S. Youth Soccer, which could get bogged down in the bureaucracy of its 55 state organizations. (California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio each split into two regions, though Ohio North and Ohio South are merging.) See the Hot Topic Guide and History page for more.
For our purposes, know this:
- Each state has at least one league sanctioned by U.S. Youth Soccer. The traditional USYS league has several tiers per age group, determined either by a selection process or promotion/relegation system.
- Many states and regions also have US Club Soccer leagues, the biggest of which qualify as National Premier Leagues (NPL) and feed into national tournaments. US Club’s leagues are often set up a little differently than USYS leagues, perhaps with a “club-centric” model with “club vs. club” scheduling so that one club lines up a team in age group to face another club’s teams in age group on the same day/weekend at the same location. My skepticism on this format in on the Hot Topic page.
- But wait — some clubs set up leagues with U.S. Youth Soccer that mimic US Club Soccer leagues, either by adopting club vs. club scheduling (see Club Champions League, which started in Virginia and Maryland but is setting up satellites in Florida, Georgia and New England) or by spanning several states (see EDP, a colossus that covers the Atlantic Coast from the D.C. metro area northward and now has a Florida operation of its own).
All of these leagues offer grandiose vision statements about serving the player and building elite pathways. The reality is that they’re all trying to do the same thing, and parents should choose clubs based on the clubs rather than the league labels. The league structure may affect how much you have to travel and how competitive the games are, but there’s no simple “US Club is like this; USYS is like this” comparison. Also, clubs typically have some teams in US Club leagues and some in USYS.
Aside from the ECNL (sanctioned by US Club) and NPL, the two of which are integrated in some ways, the majority of youth leagues are sanctioned by U.S. Youth Soccer. So unless otherwise noted, the interstate and state leagues below are USYS leagues — in other words, run by USYS state associations.
This is not comprehensive. If you think a particular league should be mentioned, get in touch and tell me about it, but I really can’t drill down to every district league featuring tiny clubs and the D or E teams of the big clubs. You can still have a great soccer experience there (I’ve coached and reffed in recreational leagues, which can be better than a lot of “travel” leagues), but there’s only so much I can list.
Here’s a look by region, roughly from West to East …
Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana (Cal North listed in California; overlaps: Wyoming, Utah, Colorado)
- ECNL girls: Northwest
- ECNL boys: Northwest
- MLS Next: Northwest
- Girls Academy: Northwest
- USYS Northwest Conference: Had one Alaska team in 2019-20. Site mentions Hawaii, Montana and Wyoming. (Cal North is in Pacific conference.)
- ECNL (regional girls) Northwest: Currently only Cal North.
- Yellowstone NPL: Montana, Idaho (Utah)
- Washington NPL: see below
- Leagues exist on each island rather than across the state. The largest is the Oahu League. Others: Maui, Kauai, Big Island.
- As in Hawaii, a statewide league is a challenge, and the biggest presence is in Anchorage. The United Anchorage YSL (UAYSL) has five clubs, three of which also play in the US Club-sanctioned Alaska Premier Soccer League (AKPSL) in a place called The Dome.
- Outside Anchorage, the Fairbanks Youth Soccer Association (FYSA) and Juneau Parks & Recreation run summer leagues and indoor events in central Alaska, all intertwined with each city’s major clubs — Eclipse in Fairbanks, the Alaska Rush-affiliated Juneau SC.
- Given the frigid temperatures of the state and the sparse population in some areas, the Alaska Futsal League provides a smaller, warmer option.
Washington/northern Idaho (some Oregon)
- The US Club Puget Sound Soccer League includes the Washington NPL division. Despite the name, the league reaches down to Oregon, and all the way across Washington and into northern Idaho.
- USYS statewide: Regional Club League. Other USYS leagues cover smaller territories: North Puget Sound League, the smaller South Sound United League, and the Washington Inland Soccer League, which covers eastern Washington and northern Idaho.
- USYS statewide: Timbers Thorns League, which bears the name of Portland’s MLS/NWSL club sits atop a pyramid of smaller USYS-sanctioned leagues.
- Oregon Premier League (US Club) launched in 2020 but does not have NPL status, which means Washington will still draw some clubs across the state line.
- Idaho State League (Southern) covers the thick part of the state in the south. Clubs in the thin strip between Washington and Montana may opt to play in Washington’s leagues instead.
- USYS statewide: Montana State League covers a vast expanse, while a couple of clubs also play in the Dakota Premier League and the Yellowstone NPL.
- ECNL girls: Northwest, Southwest
- ECNL boys: Northern California, Southwest
- MLS Next: Northwest, Southwest, Southern California
- Girls Academy: Northwest, Southwest
- USYS Pacific Conference: Cal North, Cal South
- USYS Desert Conference: Nevada, Arizona (New Mexico, Utah, Colorado)
- ECNL Northwest regional (girls): Despite its name, this regional league has no clubs north of California.
- ECNL Southwest regional (girls): Cal South, Nevada, Arizona
- ECNL SoCal regional (boys): Mostly “C” teams; most clubs have two teams in ECNL and MLS Next.
- Desert States NPL: Nevada (also Utah)
- Three Southern California NPLs: Southern California, Southwest, West
- Norcal NPL: see below
- The NorCal Premier NPL and its lower divisions include nearly every major club in the Cal North region, making it one of the largest US Club leagues (if not the largest) in the country.
- Cal North Competitive Soccer League is the top USYS league. Cal North also has several smaller district leagues.
- Coast Soccer League is the behemoth of the SoCal USYS leagues but does not have a monopoly.
- Presidio Soccer League covers the San Diego metro area, which is big enough to support dozens of clubs.
- Southern California Developmental Soccer League (SCDSL) is unusual in that its bylaws refer to affiliations with both U.S. Youth Soccer and US Club Soccer. A handful of clubs enter both the Presidio and SCDSL, but not Coast and SCDSL. A blogging parent offered a candid assessment of the landscape, though it dates back to 2014.
- Nevada South Youth Soccer League is centered around Las Vegas.
- Great Basin Youth Soccer League is up in Reno, and its bylaws mention US Club as well as USYS.
- The state association also has a few smaller leagues, and clubs also sometimes cross the state line into California leagues and the Southern Utah Inter-Regional League.
- Three NPL entities — NorCal, Southern Cal and Desert States — reach into the state.
- USYS statewide: Arizona Advanced Leagues calls it top tier the APL. The AAL umbrella has more tiers, and the state also has an Open League.
- Few local leagues play full-fledged travel, with Pima County as an exception.
- The NPL/US Club system has not reached the state, though a couple of clubs are in the ECNL and ECNL Southwest regional.
New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming
- ECNL girls: Northwest
- ECNL boys: Mountain
- MLS Next: Non-Divisional
- Girls Academy: Frontier
- USYS Desert Conference: New Mexico, Utah, Colorado (Nevada, Arizona)
- USYS Northwest Conference: Wyoming (all Northwest states)
- no ECNL regional
- Desert States NPL: Utah (Nevada)
- Yellowstone NPL: Utah (Montana, Idaho)
- Duke City Soccer League is nominally based in Albuquerque but covers a lot of the state, even across the Texas border to Amarillo.
- Northwest Rio Grande Soccer League (NWRGSL) is a low-cost alternative catering to smaller clubs.
- As in neighboring Arizona, the NPL/US Club have no reach here, but a couple of clubs play in the ECNL.
- USYS statewide: Utah Premier League and lower divisions (State Competition League (SCL), Inter Regional League (IRL)) account for most of the clubs in the state, especially in the population centers of the Salt Lake City metro area (Ogden to Provo).
- Southern Utah Inter-Regional League (SU-IRL) collects clubs in the smaller cities of the south and extends into Nevada.
- At least one club in southern Utah plays in the Colorado Mountain Region League.
- USYS statewide: Colorado Champions League / Centennial Leagues: The multi-tiered league also reaches over the state line to Wyoming.
- In the lower tiers, Colorado’s Mountain Region League stretches into Utah.
- The state has no NPL presence but some teams in the ECNL.
- USYS statewide: Wyoming State League covers the state, but some teams opt to play in Colorado, and there’s some overlap with the Dakota Premier League.
Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri
- ECNL girls: Midwest
- ECNL boys: none
- MLS Next: Mid-America
- Girls Academy: Frontier (Missouri also spills into Mid-America)
- ECNL Heartland regional: Spillover into Illinois
- Red River NPL: Kansas (others in Texas, Mid-South)
- Central States NPL: Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri
- Heartland Soccer League claims to be the country’s largest soccer league and tournament host.
- USYS statewide: Nebraska Youth Soccer League was created in 2019 in a merger of smaller leagues.
- Heartland is the dominant league.
- St. Louis Youth Soccer Association, which extends into Illinois, covers a metro area with a proud soccer history.
- Heartland draws from the rest of the state.
- USYS statewide: Iowa State League/Premier League covers the state, though there’s also some participation in the Dakota Premier League.
- ECNL girls: Texas
- ECNL boys: Texas
- MLS Next: Texas
- Girls Academy: Frontier
- USYS Frontier Conference: Includes Oklahoma
- ECNL Texas regional (girls): Includes Oklahoma
- ECNL North Texas regional (girls): Only three clubs, all from Dallas clubs (FC Dallas, Solar SC, Sting Dallas)
- ECNL United Soccer Clubs regional (girls) / NPL USC Champions League (boys and girls): Only Texas South
- Red River NPL: Texas, Oklahoma (Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana)
- Girls Classic League covers the region, while the all-boys Chamber Classic Soccer Alliance (CCSAI), is centered in the talent-rich Dallas area.
- Smaller leagues include the Plano Premier Invitational League and the Arlington Premier Invitational League, which reaches westward to Abilene and Lubbock.
- North Texas Regional Premier League is the new US Club league.
- Amarillo clubs play in North Texas leagues or across to the Duke City league in New Mexico or the Oklahoma Premier League.
- State Classic League, despite its name, is only Texas South. Western District Designated Operations Association (WDDOA) promotes into the SCL.
- Dynamo/Dash League takes its name from Houston’s MLS/NWSL club and mostly covers the Houston metro.
- El Paso Classic Soccer League covers the far west of the state.
- USYS statewide: Oklahoma Premier League has four tiers.
- Oklahoma Premier Clubs (yes, the name is quite similar) is the US Club league.
Around the Lakes from Minnesota to Western New York, also picking up the Dakotas and part of West Virginia. That’s a large land mass that isn’t easily broken down into smaller regions — some leagues cover the Heartland and western Great Lakes states, some cover the Ohio Valley and stretch into the South, and some cover the entire Great Lakes region.
- ECNL girls: Midwest, Ohio Valley
- ECNL boys: Midwest
- MLS Next: Mid-America, Non-Divisional
- Girls Academy: Mid-America
- USYS Great Lakes Conference: Oddly skips over Wisconsin and Illinois while overlapping with the Midwest: Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, New York West, Pennsylvania West
- USYS Midwest Conference: Runs from Prairie (all Heartland states) to the western Great Lakes states — South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana
- ECNL Ohio Valley regional (see also Southeast): Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania West, New York West (Tennessee); ECNL Heartland regional spills into Illinois
- Midwest Development League NPL: Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania West
- Great Lakes Alliance NPL / Premier: Indiana, Ohio, Allegheny
- Minnesota NPL: See below
- Northern Illinois Soccer League NPL: See below
Great Lakes West/Upper Midwest
North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin
North Dakota / South Dakota
- Dakota Premier League: Cities are spread out in the Dakotas, and the DPL expands that area with teams in Wyoming, Montana and Iowa. The league is split into West and East and meets to play multiple games at one venue at a time. For example: In fall 2020, the East played Sept. 13 in Sioux Falls (SD), Sept. 20 in Fargo (ND), Sept. 27 in Aberdeen (SD) and Oct. 11 in Sioux Falls. The West played in Rapid City (SD), Casper (WY), Billings (MT) and Minot (ND).
- Tournaments provide a primary outlet of competition for many clubs, and travel to Minnesota for the Twin Cities Soccer League (see below).
- Minnesota NPL / Twin Cities Soccer League: The US Club league reaches up to Duluth and pulls in teams from North Dakota and Wisconsin.
- USYS statewide: Minnesota League One.
- USYS statewide: Michigan State Premier Soccer Program (MSPSP).
- A small sliver of the Midwest Developmental NPL is the only US Club presence.
- USYS statewide: Wisconsin State League, with district leagues feeding into it.
- US Club reaches into the state with the Midwest Developmental NPL and the Twin Cities Soccer League.
Great Lakes South
Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio
- USYS statewide: Illinois State Premiership is the top of a USYS pyramid that includes the Illinois Women’s Soccer League (IWSL), Young Sportsmen’s Soccer League (YSSL), Central Illinois Youth Soccer League (CIYSL) and ILLOWA. The league has added a club-vs.-club division.
- St. Louis Youth Soccer Association draws more heavily from the Missouri side than the Illinois side.
- US Club’s Northern Illinois Soccer League incorporates an NPL division, while a couple of clubs also enter the Midwest Developmental NPL.
- USYS statewide: Indiana State League along with a couple of small “select” leagues.
- The Great Lakes and Midwest Developmental NPLs are another option.
- USYS statewide: Kentucky Premier League is run by the state association.
- Kentucky State Select League isn’t run by the state but is sanctioned by it.
- Clubs near Cincinnati frequently cross into Ohio to play in the Buckeye Premier League, among others, and the state sanctions smaller leagues as well.
- No NPL or US Club leagues operate in the state.
Ohio (North and South are merging)
- USYS statewide: Ohio South State League is no longer just for the south, and it has promotion/relegation with the USYS Great Lakes conference.
- Buckeye Premier League also covers the south.
- Central Alliance Soccer Association (CASA), a US Club league, is the dominant league in the north and also draws from western Pennsylvania. It has formed a partnership with the Central Ohio Premier League (COPL), which is the top tier of the US Club-sanctioned Ohio Champions League. Many Ohio clubs also opt for the NPL — mostly Great Lakes but also Midwest Developmental.
West Virginia, Pennsylvania West, New York West
- The Super League, whose launch was disrupted by COVID, intends to draw from West Virginia and the western halves of Pennsylvania and New York.
- The state has no central league currently operating. Competition options are the Great Lakes NPL, EDP (see Atlantic Coast), NCSL (see D.C. metro) and the Club Champions League (see Virginia).
- USYS statewide: Classic League is the top tier above several district leagues, at least until the Super League is operational.
- The Great Lakes NPL also draws substantially from here, and a few clubs enter the Midwest Developmental NPL or Ohio-based CASA.
New York West
- USYS statewide: Thruway League.
- The Great Lakes NPL has a strong presence here, and a couple of clubs dabble in EDP (see Atlantic Coast).
Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee (to the Florida Panhandle)
- ECNL girls: Southeast, Ohio Valley
- ECNL boys: Southeast
- MLS Next: Southeast
- Girls Academy: none
- USYS Mid-South Conference: All five states
- Red River NPL: Arkansas, Louisiana (Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas)
- Gulf States NPL: Louisiana, Mississippi (Florida Panhandle)
- South Atlantic NPL: Alabama (Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina)
- Southeastern Club Champions League: Alabama, Tennessee (Georgia, South Carolina). Not affiliated with Club Champions League, which is a U.S. Youth Soccer league. SCCL is US Club Soccer. Half of the clubs have top teams in the ECNL, GA or MLS Next, as well as the South Atlantic NPL.
- I-10 League: US Club league following the Gulf Coast between Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle
- USYS statewide: Louisiana Classic Soccer League (LCSL).
- The Gulf States NPL draws a few teams, and there’s a little bit of crossover into Texas for the Red River NPL and US Club’s North Texas league.
- USYS statewide: Arkansas Competitive Soccer League (ACSL).
- US Club offers Arkansas Premier Clubs / Arkansas Premier League (APL), which currently serves as a secondary US Club Soccer league for clubs that play in the Red River NPL.
- USYS statewide: Mississippi Competitive Soccer League (MCSL).
- Nearly half of the Gulf States NPL is here, along with an entry in the I-10 League.
- USYS statewide: Alabama State League.
- US Club has a little bit of a presence with the South Atlantic NPL, I-10 League and the SCCL.
- USYS statewide: Tennessee State League.
- The SCCL has a small presence.
See also Mid-South.
- ECNL girls: Southeast
- ECNL boys: Florida
- MLS Next: Florida, Southeast
- Girls Academy: Southeast
Regional leagues/State leagues
Florida is typically its own “region” when there’s no Southeast or Gulf Coast.
- US Club’s Florida Club League integrates the ECNL regional league, NPL and many lower divisions.
- USYS statewide: Florida State Premier League promotes into the USYS Sunshine Conference, which can stretch a little bit into south Georgia, and relegates to local leagues such as the Greater Central Florida YSL (GCF), South Florida United YSA (SFUYSA), United Soccer Association (USA; Tampa Bay) and the Club Directors League (CDL).
- EDP has launched leagues based in Orlando and Miami.
- The Panhandle has two more options in the Gulf States NPL and I-10 League.
- ECNL girls: Southeast, Mid-Atlantic
- ECNL boys: Southeast, Mid-Atlantic
- MLS Next: Southeast
- Girls Academy: Southeast
- USYS Piedmont Conference: Georgia, Carolinas
- ECNL Carolinas regional: Georgia, Carolinas. Boys league reaches up to Virginia.
- South Atlantic NPL: Georgia, Carolinas (Alabama)
- Southeastern Club Champions League: Georgia, South Carolina (Alabama, Tennessee). Not affiliated with Club Champions League, which is a U.S. Youth Soccer league. SCCL is US Club Soccer. Half of the clubs have top teams in the ECNL, GA or MLS Next, as well as the South Atlantic NPL.
- USYS statewide: Georgia Premier League is the middle tier between the USYS Piedmont Conference and the state’s boys (Classic) and girls (Athena) leagues.
- SCCL draws heavily from Georgia, and the South Atlantic NPL also has a presence.
- CCL (again, not related to SCCL and not a US Club league) has launched a small Georgia league.
- USYS statewide: South Carolina State Challenge League is the middle tier between the Piedmont Conference and the lower tiers — Presidents Medal Soccer League (PMSL) and the Open League.
- A couple of clubs are in the South Atlantic NPL, and the Carolina Champions League (see below) reaches into the Charlotte suburbs.
- USYS statewide: The NCYSA Classic League mercifully splits a lot of its teams into East and West regions, sparing people the 330-mile drive from Wilmington to Asheville.
- The Carolina Champions League (US Club) is currently focused in two metro areas — Charlotte (including South Carolina suburbs) and the Triangle.
ATLANTIC COAST (I-95)
Virginia, Maryland (D.C.), Delaware, Pennsylvania East, New Jersey, New York East. There’s no easy demarcation line, especially because EDP’s boundaries are fluid, and that has carried over to the USYS regional EDP now administers. Some leagues cover a state; some cover a metro area that straddles state lines.
- ECNL girls: Mid-Atlantic, North Atlantic, New England
- ECNL boys: Mid-Atlantic, Northeast
- MLS Next: Mid-Atlantic, Northeast
- Girls Academy: Mid-Atlantic, Northeast
- USYS South Atlantic Conference: Virginia, Maryland (D.C.), Delaware, Pennsylvania East
- USYS Mid-Atlantic Conference: Pennsylvania East, New Jersey, New York East
- USYS North Atlantic Conference: New York East (Connecticut)
- ECNL North Atlantic Conference: Maryland, Pennsylvania East, New Jersey
- ECNL New England regional: New Jersey, New York East (New England states)
- ECNL Virginia regional (girls) / NPL Virginia (boys): NPL league doubles as ECNL regional for girls.
- Pennsylvania Regional Club League NPL: Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania East, New Jersey. Though this is a US Club league, it’s run by APL Tournaments, the parent of the USYS Atlantic Premier League (below).
- EDP: Runs from Virginia to Maine; also administers USYS regional conferences.
- Club Champions League (CCL): The USYS club-vs.-club league reaches into every corner of Virginia and maintains footholds in West Virginia and Maryland.
- Atlantic Premier League (APL): Now incorporating the Philadelphia Area Girls Soccer league (PAGS), the league draws most of its clubs from Pennsylvania East but reaches down through Delaware to Baltimore.
Virginia (south of D.C. metro)
- The Virginia State League covers the central and southern part of the state from Richmond to Hampton Roads.
- Other options are US Club’s ECNL regional/NPL league and the USYS CCL.
- The National Capital Soccer League (NCSL) merged with the all-girls WAGS league in the 2010s and has extended its reach from the D.C. suburbs and exurbs out to West Virginia, the Virginia mountains, western Maryland and any part of Maryland south of Baltimore and west of the Chesapeake Bay.
- The Old Dominion Soccer League (ODSL) doesn’t cross into Maryland but goes into West Virginia, drawing some top teams from the mountains along with the big D.C. clubs’ lower-tier teams.
- Of the USYS interstate leagues: EDP’s southern extent is Northern Virginia, while CCL draws many Northern Virginia clubs in addition to the rest of Virginia, West Virginia and a small presence in Maryland.
- US Club’s ECNL regional/NPL double stops at the Potomac (not going into Maryland).
Maryland (north of D.C. metro)
- With no statewide leagues, Maryland’s clubs have a choice of USYS leagues. The biggest by far is EDP, though D.C. suburban clubs also go to the NCSL, a couple of clubs reach up to the APL, and there’s a long list of smaller local leagues.
- In addition to the Penn Regional NPL, US Club has the Central Maryland Soccer Association, co-sanctioned with SAY.
- USYS statewide: Delaware has one, the DYSA Interclub Travel League, but it’s only for U-10 and U-9.
- As in Maryland, clubs in Delaware can go to the APL or EDP.
- The Penn Regional NPL draws many of the state’s top clubs.
- The state has the Penn Regional NPL, APL and EDP, and a lot of clubs enter all three.
- EDP is the de facto state league, especially now that EDP has partnered with the New York Club Soccer League (NYCSL).
- Some clubs go southward to the Penn Regional NPL.
New York East
- EDP / New York Club Soccer League (NYCSL) / Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League is the umbrella for most clubs in the Big Apple and nearby.
- US Club lost its presence here when the NYCSL jumped ship but will surely be back.
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine. The regional/interstate leagues draw most big clubs.
- ECNL girls: New England
- ECNL boys: Northeast
- MLS Next: Northeast (New England at lower ages)
- Girls Academy: Northeast
- USYS New England Conference: Nothing north of Massachusetts at present. (Connecticut also in North Atlantic)
- ECNL New England regional: Nothing north of Massachusetts.
- New England Premiership (NEP) NPL / lower divisions: See below
- EDP: Runs from Virginia to Maine; also administers USYS regional conferences.
- Club Champions League New England: Another outpost for the Virginia-based CCL.
- USYS statewide: CJSA State League
- EDP, though, draws nearly all of the state’s top clubs.
- NEP’s NPL division reaches here as well.
- NEP, EDP and CCL are the major choices.
- This is the northern extent of EDP, and NEP starts to draw more clubs, with CCL also starting up.
- USYS statewide: Town Select League provides a middle level between town leagues and the regionals.
- USYS statewide: Vermont State League
- Other options are the NEP and CCL.
- USYS statewide: New Hampshire Soccer League
- The NEP has a presence here; CCL has not yet brought in a club.
- USYS statewide: Maine State Premier League
- NEP includes the state’s biggest club, Seacoast United.
Use the contact form to let me know.