Angela Hucles and PDA Recognized as December ECNL S’Hero Award Recipients

AYW WhiteRICHMOND, Va. (January 6, 2015) – The Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) today announced Angela Hucles and Players Development Academy as the December S’Hero of the Month award recipients for individual and community leadership.  The ECNL is sharing the stories of these S’Heroes who are role models for our nation’s young female athletes who are balancing their drive to become elite athletes with the pressures of fitting in with social peers.

S’Hero of the Month – Angela Hucles

Angela Hucles is the newest President of the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF).  As a board member, Angela worked with the WSF toward their goal to provide opportunities to advance the lives of girls and women through sport.

Her new role is just the latest achievement in Angela’s 25 years in the sports industry.  As Founder and Director of the Empowerment Through Sports Leadership Series (ETSLS) non-profit organization, Angela has created an environment where girls, parents, and coaches can come together to find the leader within, motivating young girls to make a plan and put it into action in order to reach their goals.

Angela is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, former professional soccer player, two-time World Cup medalist, and the US Soccer Foundation’s 2009 Humanitarian of the Year.  She is a true ambassador for the game of soccer and a firm believer in sports providing endless opportunities in every aspect of life.

“Soccer has prepared me for life, taught me about myself, formed friendships that I will have with me forever, and gave me the confidence and self-awareness that I need when I face obstacles” said Hucles. “It is an honor to be named a S’Hero and join the ECNL community to help motivate others to reach for their dreams and forge the path for the next generation of leaders.”

To learn more about Angela Hucles, click here.

Community S’Hero of the Month – Players Development Academy

Players Development Academy, Inc. (PDA) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the promotion and development of youth soccer in New Jersey.  Founded in 1998, PDA has established itself as a youth soccer power both on and off the field, providing a soccer-specific environment for youth of all socio-economic backgrounds.

PDA prides itself in giving back to the community.  For the past six years, PDA has hosted the PDA Soccer Marathon to benefit Special Olympics of New Jersey, donating over $260,000 while benefitting 22,000 Special Olympics New Jersey athletes. The 2015 PDA Soccer Marathon to benefit Special Olympics is schedule to take place January 23-24, 2015 at Branchburg Sports Complex.

“Genuine Jersey Pride defines Special Olympics New Jersey and celebrates the impact we have on all who participate,” says Marc Edenzon, President of SONJ.  “Those privileged to witness the magic every time an athlete with an intellectual disability takes the field, scores a goal, achieves a personal best time, or simply experiences the joy of participation connects us all and further celebrates the pride in the athletes we serve.”

The PDA Soccer Marathon provides an opportunity for the PDA players to contribute to their club and to the community, while doing what they do best — play soccer. The event has players/teams from throughout the club play a continuous soccer game for 24 hours for donations.  Every team in the PDA organization participates in this 24-hour continuous soccer game, echoing the importance of giving back and forging a lasting partnership. The culminating point is held in the final hours of the marathon, when PDA players are joined by Special Olympians for a combined game and closing ceremony.

To learn more about the 2015 PDA Soccer Marathon to benefit Special Olympics, click here.

S’Heroes is part of the Amazing Young WomenTM campaign designed to showcase strong, successful women who embody the leadership ideals first learned and developed on the soccer fields of their youth. The ECNL is calling on all who love sports to join them in supporting youth female athletes as they recognize their own potential, define their individual paths to success, and prepare to be our next generation of leaders by visiting and using the hashtag #BeautifulAmbition.

Studies have shown that driving factors behind girls dropping out of sports include social stigma and limited exposure to the inspirational journeys trailblazed by positive role models.  Too often player traits that are so valued by teams are not promoted as “beautiful” traits for young girls.  By age 14, girls are dropping out of sports at two times the rate of boys.  Amazing Young Women encourages young female athletes to embrace their ambitious, driven and competitive nature.  And those recognized as S’Heroes have taken a spirit of leadership and inspiration from the field, and have demonstrated that it’s not just about a phase of your life, but a way of life.


About Amazing Young WomenTM:  Launched by the ECNL, the Amazing Young Women campaign is a dynamic platform of online and local market activations that showcase and celebrate female role models offering an aspirational focus for all female athletes and teens as they prepare to be our next generation of leaders.  Throughout the 2014-2015 season, the ECNL will showcase what it means to have #BeautifulAmbition as exemplified by former and current ECNL players, and is calling on all of the nation’s women to join the movement to celebrate the endless potential of today’s girls.

Women of all ages can share their personal moments of #BeautifulAmbition through social media and at  Every share and submission helps drive a movement that celebrates the power of what it is to be a girl today.  Each month Amazing Young Women of the ECNL will be chosen from online submissions and social engagement to be showcased at  Through testimonials, tips and tools, the website is providing all girls to view, share, and celebrate what it is to be motivated, strong, and successful.
About Elite Clubs National League:  The Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) was founded in 2009 to enhance the developmental experience of female youth soccer players in the United States through: (i) Improving the competitive environment through creation of a true national competitive league; (ii) Improving the process for identifying elite female soccer players for the U.S. Soccer youth national teams through a systematic scouting and identification program based on national competitions; and (iii) improving the daily training environment at top female youth soccer clubs through developing best practices and training and organizational guidelines for its member clubs.  The ECNL is sanctioned by US Club Soccer and is sponsored by Nike Soccer.

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For media enquiries:
Jen Woodie
Phone: (703) 304-5723