On Sunday, February 7, FC WI Eclipse held its 2015 Senior Night to celebrate the accomplishments of the 2015 graduating class. With 14 players moving to college soccer the class was accomplished on the field, but their impact off of the field was even greater.
The 2015 class was a large part of the impetus for the founding of FC Wisconsin Eclipse in 2012. After being exposed to new training philosophies and expectations as Under-15s, the core of this class knew that they wanted more from their soccer career personally, and that they wanted to be a part of something bigger than one age group team. In their inaugural year wearing the FC WI Eclipse jersey as U16s, the team took the first steps in that journey as they helped to create a new club in Wisconsin - with totally unique expectations, standards, and culture.
From a team that struggled to win a game in the ECNL as U15s in 2011-2012, the team improved incredibly every year and advanced to the ECNL North American Cup Finals in 2013-2014 as U17s - where they were seconds away from the championship game. As U18s this season, the team played not only the top teams in the Midwest in conference play, but based on their previous year's results earned match-ups against some of the top teams in the country at ECNL National Events. In conference games this season and last, many of which were lopsided results as U15s and U16s, the team showed that they could compete and take points from anyone in the country on any given day. The transformation they underwent on the field in 4 years is remarkable.
Off the field, the impact of the 2015 graduating class was also significant. The "club-first" culture they helped to create was evident through the number of players and families from the U15, U16, and U17 age groups that came to celebrate the class on Senior Night, and the words of thanks shared by two U17 players on behalf of the club. The personal bonds created across all the ECNL age groups, the role modeling provided to younger players in similar positions or high schools, and the club's mentoring program reaching all the way to U9 players are a result of the culture created by the 2015 class.
The goals in founding FC Wisconsin Eclipse were to provide a platform for Wisconsin's most ambitious players to maximize their potential, to help young players learn what it takes to be a part of a high performing group, and to set a culture of achievement and a place where players felt connected to something bigger. The class of 2015 has helped permanently set this foundation - one which will provide opportunity and memories for Wisconsin's aspiring players for years to come.
The class of 2015:
Thank you for your energy, commitment, loyalty and leadership.