The G02 DMCV Sharks will travel to Washington later this month to compete in the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) National Playoffs where they will compete for the Showcase Cup. “We are incredibly proud of Coach Goran Nastic and our G02 team and are excited for the opportunity for the girls to continue to showcase their talent” said Shannon Mac Millan, Executive Director of the Sharks. Added MacMillan “not only is this a fantastic chance for our players to perform in front of hundreds of college coaches, it’s a sign of great things to come from the Sharks ECNL program.”
Sixteen ECNL teams from across the country will compete in each age division for the Showcase Cup. Coach Nastic’s team is the sole ECNL team from California to qualify for the U16 division of this National Playoff, an impressive achievement in only their first year of league competition. Invitations to the Playoffs are earned based on recent achievements (Nastic’s team won their flight in the Southern California Development League) as well as quality of play over the ECNL season, including the Sharks battling the nation’s number one and number two ranked teams to narrow 1 goal losses. Coach Nastic credits their ECNL success on his players’ finding the fun in being a “team-first” squad. “They work incredibly hard and encourage each other no matter what happens. What I really like about the team is we can start anybody in just about any position. It gives us the ability to adapt to any opponent.”
Their approach is working. The team recently traveled to New Jersey for an ENCL National Showcase event over Memorial Day Weekend where a highlight was beating the top ranked team 3-1. The New Jersey Showcase was attended by the country’s best squads as well as hundreds college coaches who use ECNL competitions to recruit the nation’s most outstanding talent to their programs. As a result, the Sharks typically play in front of hundreds of spectators at national events, giving the feel of a big game each time they take the field.
Inside the huddle, away from the noise, the team continues to keep it real. “We just believe in ourselves” says co-captain Julia Chen, “and that helps us to leave it all out on the field and have fun.” Leah Weiser and Sydney Sanchez, Chen’s co-captains, agree. “Our mindset is to stay positive throughout the game and above all, have each other’s back. We know good things will come” added Weiser. Reminded Sanchez, “but our goal is to win.”
The National Playoffs start in June 21 and the ENCL will crown champions in each age division for the 2017-18 National League Playoffs on June 26. Readers can follow the results on the ECNL or DMCV Sharks websites.