CHALLENGE ECNL MISSION STATEMENT
To assist elite female soccer players, who have a desire to compete at the highest level in the country, reach their true potential by pushing them past their comfort zones and helping them realize new found abilities, goals, and confidence. Our staff will work with athletes to develop them into responsible young ladies while still being accountable to their teammates, their families, and their long term aspirations of achieving success both on and off the field.
CHALLENGE ECNL STAFF
For over 25 years Challenge has been the leader and destination club for female youth soccer development in South Texas. Recognized as one of the top clubs in the nation, much of Challenge’s success can be attributed to the quality of our staff coaches who aer working with our athletes. The Challenge ECNL program is dedicated to carrying on the tradition of elite coaches working with elite players. While most clubs have one full time coach, we have committed TWO full time staff coaches to our ECNL program (ECNL Director Stuart Self and ECNL Assistant Director Chris Maravalli) while our Director of Coaching, Pat O’Toole, is also intricately involved.
In putting together our staff, we wanted to provide our players with a professional and unique dynamic that they would enjoy, relate to, and learn from. Simply put, with over 50 years of combined coaching, a youthful energy and innovative spirit, and a vast array of professional experiences and success in player development, our ECNL Staff is the best in Houston; they have created an environment that elite female players enjoy and want to be a part of. Additionally, through the linking of ECNL Staff to our other locations and programs, all members of the Challenge family benefit from their knowledge, experience, and love of coaching while also allowing our ECNL coaches to continuously develop, mentor, and evaluate all players within the club.
ECNL Staff Career Highlights:
- 13 US National Championship Finalists
- 17 Regional Championships
- 32 Youth National Team Participants
- 6 US Women’s National Team Members
- US Club Soccer id2 National Goalkeeping Staff
- Region 3 ODP Head Coach
- Region 2 ODP Staff Coach
- South Texas, Wisconsin, and Vermont ODP
- Director of Coaching Experience (Challenge and Capital Soccer Club)
- NCAA Division 1 (Top 25) Women’s Coach
- NCAA Division 3 (Top 10) Men’s Coach
- NCAA Division 1 Collegiate Recruiting Coordinator
- Coached 6 Collegiate All-Americans
- Over 900 players placed in collegiate programs
- Collegiate and Professional Player Experience
- Possess a complete and thorough understanding of the college recruiting process and NCAA recruiting rules
- Holders of USSF and NSCAA nationally recognized coaching licenses and diplomas
- Former players have played for: US Women’s National Team, Republic of Ireland National Team, Mexican National Team, the Greece National Team, US U23 Women’s National Team, US U21 Women’s National Team, US Youth National Teams, Chicago Red Stars (NWSL), Seattle Reign (NWSL), St. Louis Athletics (WPS), Boston Breakers (WPS), Bayern Munich (Frauen-Bundesliga), Carolina Railhawks (USL), Atlanta Silverbacks (USL/W-League)
CHALLENGE’S HISTORY OF ELITE PLAYER DEVELOPMENT
As an inagural member of the Elite Clubs National League, Challenge Soccer Club has a proud history that is unmatched in the national youth soccer landscape. One of only a handful of all-female clubs in the country, Challenge was the first club in Houston to gain entry into the ECNL, while also solidifying its place amongst the nation’s long standing elite. Challenge’s track record of developing elite female soccer players and teams speaks for itself:
- 100+ US Youth Soccer National Cup State Championships
- 80+ US Youth Soccer Regional Appearances
- 17 US Youth Soccer Regional Championships
- 13 US Youth Soccer National Finalists
- 2 Premier League West Championships
- 1 US Youth Soccer National League Team
- 1 ECNL "A" Flight National Tournament Quarterfinalist
- 1 ECNL "B" Flight National Tournament Semifinalist
- 1 ECNL ’National League’ National Finalist
- Host of the prestigous Texas Shootout
- 3 Time Host of the Final IV tournament in conjuction with the NCAA Championships
- First club in Houston accepted into the ECNL
- Only Girls Club in Houston ever ranked in the Top 30 Clubs in the Country
For over twenty-five years, Challenge has been at the forefront of developing female athletes and helping them reach their goals of competing at the highest levels of club, college, professional, and international soccer. Our players have graduated from our program and gone on to play at some of the most prestigous universities while still holding dear to them the foundation they built through their years at Challenge:
- Over 1200 Alumni have gone on to play in collegiate programs
- 32 Players have played in the Youth National Team Programs
- 27 High School All-Americans
- 11 Players have played for the U21 National Team
- 6 Players have represented Full National Teams
- 1 NSCAA National Coach of the Year - Dave "Smitty" Smith
With such a storied history of player development, it is no wonder that Challenge ECNL matches are often scouted by dozens of college coaches, creating an atmosphere that truly represents the fundamental values of the ECNL.
ACCEPTING ’THE CHALLENGE’
Our current players and alumni will be the first to say that being a part of the Challenge ECNL program is being a member of an extended family. At the heart of our program is an unconditional show of support for each other; reaching between players, coaches, and families. We are all in this journey together. Ultimately every player will experience successes and frustrations throughout the learning process and it is left to teammates and staff to celebrate every great moment while also helping to push through the challenging ones.
Our unique training environment is designed to facilitate competition in a fun and energetic setting with multiple ECNL teams training together with multiple ECNL staff coaches, allowing for unlimited training options and high intensity sessions. our teams work harder than anyone in the country while developing relationships with each other, helping to foster the ’family’ mentality. These sessions hold players accountable to each other and the development process, as well as helping to foster necessary leadership skills that are required of the elite level player.
Ultimately the success of the Challenge ECNL program comes down to a committed unity from our athletes. When players put on the Challenge shirt they know they are playing for something bigger than themselves and their own individual ambitions. They do realize, however, that a selfless commitment to the group’s short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals will have a direct impact on their own development and be the greatest asset in achieving whatever dreams that may have.