Member Club Spotlight | Scottsdale Blackhawks
RICHMOND, VA (March 27, 2018) – The Boys Elite Clubs National League (Boys ECNL) sat down with Scottsdale Blackhawks Director of Coaching Adam Burke to talk about the Boys ECNL U14, U15, and U16 teams, and their recent success in Boys ECNL competitions. Currently, both of the Scottsdale Blackhawks U14 and U16 teams sit in first place of the Southwest Conference, with records of 13-0-1 and 11-0-3 respectively. The Scottsdale Blackhawks U15 team has also down well, sitting in third place with a record of 10-3-1.
Q: Now that we are past the midway point of the inaugural Boys ECNL Season, what are your thoughts on the league so far? What makes the Boys ECNL a good fit for Scottsdale Blackhawks?
A: This first Boys ECNL Season has been truly excellent thus far. The league provides a top-notch platform for our top boys’ players to play against some of the best players in the country, and to be showcased in front of college coaches. The Boys ECNL platform has provided an unmatched experience for our club up to this point, and we can only imagine what else is in store. We are looking forward to the second half of conference competition, the National Events in San Diego and Pennsylvania, and the opportunity to qualify for the Elite National Premier League (ENPL) Post Season.
Q: As it stands right now, both the Scottsdale Blackhawks Boys ECNL U14 and U16 teams sit in first place of the Boys ECNL Southwest Conference, with the Boys ECNL U15 team in third place. What are some of the factors that have led each of these teams to find success?
A: First and foremost, they are all outstanding young men with great character, both on and off the field. The buy-in from all players on each of the three teams is unrivaled with a “do whatever it takes” mentality. They are relentlessness in their efforts, at training and with one another, creating a culture within our club that is starting to spread. The chemistry and understanding each of these teams have is special. Lastly, the accountability that these three groups hold each other to keeps them grounded and focused on the task at hand.
Q: Both the Scottsdale Blackhawks Boys ECNL U15 and U16 teams have a fair number of new players this season. How have you managed to bring these players together into a unified team?
A: I am fortunate to have a group of mature, dedicated and serious young men. Both teams have very similar goals with respect to how they approach training and competitions. Even with shifts in the roster, the alignment of individual and team goals unified both teams, adding a layer of mental toughness that plays like a 12th man on the field for us. It was almost instantaneous, and has certainly made my job easier in respect to adjusting my focus. I try to provide an environment where players can be challenged on a daily basis, with a clear understanding of the objective and goal. The success on the field directly correlates to the attitude and confidence each of my players carries with them.
Q: Can you identify a few top performers in each of the Boys ECNL U14, U15 and U16 teams that have made an impact this season?
- At U14: Josh Martinez, Kevin “Boo” Mearse and Blake Bernal
- At U15: Kaden Grub, Easton Elzinga and Austin Pearcy
- At U16: Marcos Mora, Alex Kessler and Jack Smith
Each of these players brings versatility in their ability play several positions at a very high level. Collectively, these teams are peppered with role players that add to our success, but these specific individuals bring a certain calmness and poise. Not all of these young men mentioned are captains, but they all have their own way of leading their respective teams.
Q: What are the expectations for these teams moving forward as it relates to the current season? In addition, what are the goals for the 2018-19 Boys ECNL Season?A: The expectation is for each player to continue to improve as a student of the game; for each team to grow in their understanding of our system and philosophy; and for the club to continue to compete and raise the level for the Southwest Conference. I cannot predict where they will fall in the standings by the end of the year, but I can tell you that they will give everything that they have to stay at the top. There is a lot of soccer left to play, and our conference is very competitive, but we are up for the challenge. Next year I hope to build off of what we established this year, continuing to challenge and push players within the club.
About Boys Elite Clubs National League: Boys Elite Clubs National League (Boys ECNL) was founded to provide a top level, club-based development, training, and competition platform for youth male soccer players in the United States. The mission of the Boys ECNL is to improve the landscape for players in the United States through innovative, player-centered programming that raises standards of quality and improves the player experience in all aspects of the game.
The Boys ECNL is sanctioned by US Club Soccer.