Is ECNL Better Than USYS? Explore the Differences Today.

    When it comes to top-level soccer platforms for youth players in the United States, two names stand out: ECNL (Elite Clubs National League) and USYS (US Youth Soccer). Both offer high-level competition, technical and tactical soccer, and opportunities for accelerated development. However, there are important differences between the two that you need to consider when making a decision.

    Contents  show 

    Key Takeaways:

    • Understanding the ECNL: history, structure, and emphasis on college recruitment
    • Exploring MLS NEXT: formation, clubs, and strict tournament rules
    • The Girls Academy: partnership with MLS NEXT, competing for schools, and a lower-level league
    • Comparing competition levels in the ECNL, MLS NEXT, and the Girls Academy
    • College recruitment opportunities in the ECNL, MLS NEXT, and the Girls Academy

    Understanding the ECNL

    The ECNL (Elite Clubs National League) is a prestigious soccer competition that was formed in 2009. It has since become a leading platform for both boys and girls in the United States. The ECNL consists of 113 girls clubs and 131 boys clubs competing in multiple conferences, providing a highly competitive environment for aspiring young players.

    The ECNL sets high standards for its member clubs in terms of coaching, facilities, and game schedules. Each age group within a club is required to field an ECNL team, ensuring a commitment to excellence at every level. The league is known for its emphasis on college recruitment, with ECNL National Events attracting college coaches and scouts from across the country.

    ECNL OverviewECNL HistoryECNL Structure
    The ECNL is a premier soccer competition in the United States.The league was established in 2009 and has grown rapidly since then.The ECNL consists of 113 girls clubs and 131 boys clubs across multiple conferences.
    It provides high-level competition and development opportunities.The league sets high standards for coaching, facilities, and game schedules.Each age group within a club fields an ECNL team.
    The ECNL has a strong emphasis on college recruitment.ECNL National Events attract college coaches and scouts.

    In addition to the competitive aspect, the ECNL also focuses on the holistic development of players. It provides top-notch coaching and training programs to help young athletes reach their full potential. The league’s commitment to excellence has made it a renowned platform for player development and college readiness.

    Overall, the ECNL offers a comprehensive and highly competitive environment for young soccer players in the United States. Its emphasis on high standards, college recruitment, and player development make it a top choice for those looking to take their game to the next level.

    Exploring MLS NEXT

    If you’re considering the best soccer platform for your child’s development, MLS NEXT is definitely worth exploring. Launched in 2020, MLS NEXT was formed as a replacement for the Developmental Academy and has quickly gained recognition as a top-tier program. With a focus on providing a pathway for elite young players to reach the professional level, MLS NEXT offers a range of benefits and opportunities.

    MLS NEXT currently consists of 133 clubs, including 28 MLS Academies. These clubs provide impressive infrastructure for training and playing, ensuring that players have access to high-quality facilities and resources. The emphasis on top-tier coaching is also evident, with MLS NEXT clubs employing qualified coaches who are dedicated to player development.

    It’s important to note that MLS NEXT has strict rules regarding tournaments and participation in alternate or school sports. This can be both a positive and a negative, as it ensures a focus on soccer but may limit players’ ability to engage in other activities. However, if your child is fully committed to pursuing a professional soccer career, MLS NEXT could be the perfect platform for their development.

    MLS NEXT Clubs:

    Club NameLocationMLS Next Academy?Website
    Arsenal FCLos Angeles, CAYesVisit Website
    Chicago Fire FCChicago, ILYesVisit Website
    New York City FCNew York, NYYesVisit Website
    Seattle Sounders FCSeattle, WAYesVisit Website

    MLS NEXT is an exciting platform that offers elite young players the opportunity to develop their skills and pursue a professional soccer career. With its emphasis on coaching, competition, and infrastructure, MLS NEXT provides a supportive environment for players to thrive. As you consider the best soccer platform for your child, be sure to explore MLS NEXT and its affiliated clubs to see if it aligns with your aspirations and goals.

    Understanding the Girls Academy

    The Girls Academy (GA) is a youth soccer league that was established in 2020 as a competitor to the ECNL. It specifically focuses on girls’ soccer and is partnered with MLS NEXT and US Youth Soccer, creating a unified top-tier platform for female players. The GA consists of 69 clubs competing in seven regional conferences, providing a geographically diverse playing field for young athletes.

    The partnership with MLS NEXT and US Youth Soccer allows players in the GA to benefit from the resources and expertise of these organizations. It brings together the best aspects of each league, with a strong emphasis on player development, competition, and exposure to college coaches. The GA offers a more lenient substitution policy compared to the ECNL, allowing players to compete for their school teams as well.

    In addition to the main league, the GA also offers a Developmental Player League (DPL), providing a lower-level playing option for girls looking to develop their skills and gain experience.

    Comparing Competition Levels

    When considering the ECNL, MLS NEXT, and the Girls Academy, it is important to assess the competition level offered by each platform. Each league provides a high-quality soccer experience, but there are slight variations in the level of competition.

    The ECNL is renowned for its competitive nature and offers players the opportunity to face top teams from across the nation. With its rigorous standards, the ECNL attracts clubs committed to developing elite talent and provides a platform for players to showcase their skills against some of the best competition in the country.

    MLS NEXT, on the other hand, focuses on nurturing players to reach the professional level. The league offers intense competition and emphasizes player development within a framework designed to prepare young athletes for the demands of the highest levels of soccer.

    The Girls Academy also provides a highly competitive environment for players. It allows them to compete for their schools and places a strong emphasis on technical skills and individual growth. The league offers a challenging platform that enables players to develop their abilities while facing strong opponents.

    LeagueCompetition Level
    ECNLHighly competitive, national-level competition
    MLS NEXTIntense competition with a focus on professional development
    Girls AcademyChallenging environment with an emphasis on technical skills and individual growth

    Deciding on the appropriate competition level depends on the player’s aspirations and preferences. If they thrive in a highly competitive atmosphere and want to test their skills against top players nationally, the ECNL may be the best fit. Alternatively, if the player has ambitions of pursuing a professional soccer career, MLS NEXT could provide the ideal pathway. The Girls Academy offers a competitive setting that also allows players to compete for their schools, making it a suitable option for those who value both academic and athletic pursuits.

    College Recruitment Opportunities

    College recruitment opportunities are an essential factor to consider when choosing between the ECNL, MLS NEXT, and the Girls Academy. Each league provides different avenues for players to showcase their talents and attract the attention of college coaches.

    In the ECNL, college recruitment is highly emphasized, and ECNL National Events are renowned for their ability to attract college coaches and scouts. These events provide players with valuable exposure and the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in front of a wide range of college programs. College coaches actively seek out ECNL players due to the league’s reputation for producing top-level talent.

    While MLS NEXT and the Girls Academy also offer college recruitment opportunities, the pathway to college soccer may rely more heavily on playing through the college system. However, both leagues still provide platforms for players to be seen by college coaches. MLS NEXT’s partnership with MLS Academies and the Girls Academy’s affiliation with MLS NEXT and US Youth Soccer can increase visibility and open doors for aspiring college athletes.

    Table: College Recruitment Opportunities

    LeagueCollege Recruitment Opportunities
    ECNLHigh emphasis on college recruitment, ECNL National Events attract college coaches and scouts
    MLS NEXTOpportunities to be seen by college coaches through partnership with MLS Academies
    Girls AcademyAffiliation with MLS NEXT and US Youth Soccer provides exposure to college coaches

    When considering college recruitment opportunities, it is important to evaluate your personal goals and aspirations as well as the level of exposure and connections each league can provide. Researching the success stories and college commitments of previous players from each league can also provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of their respective recruitment processes. Ultimately, the best choice will depend on your individual circumstances and ambitions.

    Pathway to Professional Soccer

    If your ultimate goal is to pursue a professional soccer career, both the ECNL, MLS NEXT, and the Girls Academy offer pathways to help you achieve that dream. While each platform has its own approach, they share a common goal of developing young players for the professional level.

    The ECNL has established itself as a reliable resource for college recruitment, providing opportunities for exposure through its highly regarded ECNL National Events. These events attract college coaches and scouts, increasing your chances of being noticed and recruited for collegiate soccer programs. However, it’s important to note that the pathway to professional soccer for women often involves going through the college system.

    MLS NEXT, on the other hand, is actively working to create a direct path for academy players to go pro. With the involvement of MLS Academy teams and a focus on nurturing players at the highest level, MLS NEXT aims to bridge the gap between youth soccer and professional leagues. By providing top-tier coaching, intense competition, and exposure to MLS clubs, MLS NEXT offers a clear pathway to the professional level.

    The Girls Academy also emphasizes development within a framework geared towards professional soccer. While it may not have the direct connections to professional leagues like MLS NEXT, it focuses on technical skills and individual growth, providing a solid foundation for players aspiring to play at the highest level.

    PlatformPathway to Professional Soccer
    ECNLHighly regarded for college recruitment
    Opportunities through ECNL National Events
    MLS NEXTFocus on developing players for professional level
    Direct connections to MLS clubs
    Girls AcademyFocus on technical skills and individual growth
    Solid foundation for aspiring professional players

    When considering the pathway to professional soccer, it’s essential to factor in not only the opportunities offered by each platform but also your personal goals and aspirations. Consider what aligns best with your long-term ambitions and the level of support and development you need to reach your full potential.

    Cost Considerations

    When considering the ECNL, MLS NEXT, and the Girls Academy as potential soccer platforms for your child, it’s important to factor in cost considerations. Participating in these leagues can come with a significant price tag, including travel fees and other expenses. Let’s explore the estimated costs associated with each league.

    According to our research, the average cost to participate in the ECNL is estimated to be around $8,000 per year. This includes club fees, coaching costs, league expenses, and travel expenses. Keep in mind that additional costs such as uniforms, training equipment, and tournament fees may vary depending on the club.

    For MLS NEXT and the Girls Academy, the total cost can vary depending on the club. On average, the costs range from $4,000 to $10,000 per year. It’s important to note that some MLS-affiliated clubs may offer scholarships or subsidized costs for certain players. Be sure to inquire about any financial assistance options available.

    LeagueEstimated Cost
    ECNL$8,000 per year
    MLS NEXT$4,000 to $10,000 per year
    Girls Academy$4,000 to $10,000 per year

    It’s essential to consider your budget and financial capabilities when making a decision. While cost shouldn’t be the sole determining factor, it’s important to find a balance between quality of coaching and competition, college recruitment opportunities, and affordability.

    Emphasis on Player Development

    All three leagues, the ECNL, MLS NEXT, and the Girls Academy, prioritize player development. They aim to provide a platform for players to grow and improve their skills. The ECNL and MLS NEXT offer comprehensive player development programs, including training camps, identifying top talent, and providing exposure to college coaches and scouts. The Girls Academy also focuses on player development, with a strong emphasis on technical skills and individual growth.

    In the ECNL, player development is a key focus. The league is known for its high standards of coaching, which helps players refine their skills and tactical understanding of the game. The ECNL also offers access to top-level competition, allowing players to test themselves against the best in the country. This exposure helps players develop their game intelligence and adaptability, preparing them for future challenges.

    MLS NEXT also places a strong emphasis on player development. The league’s training and competition structure are designed to nurture young talent and prepare them for professional soccer. MLS NEXT clubs provide access to top coaching and facilities, giving players the resources they need to develop their skills. The league’s focus on technical and tactical development helps players grow both individually and as part of a team.

    The Girls Academy is committed to player development, particularly in the technical aspects of the game. The league’s training programs promote skill development and encourage players to express themselves creatively on the field. The Girls Academy values individual growth and believes that a strong technical foundation is crucial for success at higher levels of play.

    Overall, each league places a significant emphasis on player development, providing young soccer players with the tools and opportunities they need to reach their full potential. Whether it’s through comprehensive training programs, exposure to high-level competition, or a focus on technical skills, the ECNL, MLS NEXT, and the Girls Academy all strive to help players grow and excel in the sport.

    Club-Specific Considerations

    When choosing between the ECNL, MLS NEXT, and the Girls Academy, it’s important to consider club-specific factors that can greatly impact your soccer journey. Here are some key questions to ask when evaluating clubs:

    1. What is the club’s emphasis: recruiting or developing their own players?
    2. What is the level of competition within the club?
    3. Does the club’s style of play align with your strengths and preferences?
    4. What are the coach’s qualifications and experience?
    5. How many teams is the coach responsible for?

    By asking these questions, you can gain valuable insights into a club’s philosophy, coaching approach, and the overall environment you’ll be training and competing in. It’s also recommended to reach out to other parents and individuals in the local soccer community to gather their experiences and opinions.

    In addition to club-specific questions, it’s crucial to assess the facilities and coaching quality offered by each club. Facilities play a significant role in creating a conducive training environment, so consider factors such as the quality of fields, training equipment, and the overall infrastructure available.

    Choosing the right club that aligns with your goals, values, and provides a supportive environment can significantly impact your soccer development and overall experience. Take the time to research, visit clubs, and ask the right questions to ensure you make an informed decision.

    Remember, finding the right club is an essential step in your soccer journey. It’s not just about the league you play in, but the club you join that can make all the difference in your development as a player and your overall enjoyment of the game.

    Club-Specific ConsiderationsQuestions to Ask
    EmphasisRecruiting or developing players?
    CompetitionLevel of competition within the club
    Style of PlayDoes it align with your strengths and preferences?
    CoachingQualifications and experience of the coaches
    Coach’s ResponsibilitiesHow many teams is the coach responsible for?

    Choosing the Right League: Factors to Consider for Your Player’s Aspirations and Preferences

    When it comes to selecting the right league for your young soccer player, there are several factors to consider. Each league, whether it’s the ECNL, MLS NEXT, or the Girls Academy, offers unique opportunities and advantages that can contribute to your player’s development and success. By taking into account your player’s aspirations and preferences, you can make an informed decision that aligns with their goals.

    Competition Level: The level of competition within each league varies, with the ECNL known for its competitive nature and the opportunity to play against top teams nationally. MLS NEXT provides intense competition and focuses on nurturing players to reach professional levels. The Girls Academy offers a competitive environment and allows players to compete for their schools. Consider your player’s desire for challenging competition and their ability to thrive in high-pressure situations.

    College Recruitment Opportunities: College recruitment is a crucial consideration for many youth players. The ECNL has established itself as an elite resource for college recruitment, with its National Events attracting college coaches and scouts. MLS NEXT and the Girls Academy also provide opportunities for players to be seen by college coaches, although the pathway to college soccer may still heavily rely on playing through the college system. Evaluate each league’s track record for college placements and the exposure they can offer to increase your player’s chances of securing a college scholarship.

    “The right league for your player is one that aligns with their goals, aspirations, and playing style.”

    Cost Considerations: Participating in any of these leagues comes with a financial commitment. The average cost for the ECNL is around $8,000 per year, while the total cost for MLS NEXT and the Girls Academy can range from $4,000 to $10,000 per year, depending on the club. It’s essential to evaluate the financial implications and ensure that the investment is feasible for your family.

    Club-Specific Factors: The club your player joins within each league can also impact their experience and development. Consider the club’s emphasis on recruiting versus developing their own players, the level of competition within the club, the club’s style of play, and the coach’s qualifications and experience. Seeking input from other parents and individuals in the local soccer community can provide valuable insights into the clubs and help you make a more informed decision.

    Ultimately, the right league for your player is one that aligns with their goals, aspirations, and playing style. By carefully considering these factors and researching each league’s offerings, you can find the perfect fit that sets your player on a path towards success in their soccer journey.

    Impact on Youth Soccer Development

    The ECNL, MLS NEXT, and the Girls Academy have had a significant impact on the development of youth soccer in the United States. These platforms provide young players with opportunities to compete at a high level, receive top-tier coaching, and showcase their talents. By creating a competitive and nurturing environment, these leagues play a crucial role in fostering the growth of youth soccer.

    Through their emphasis on player development, the ECNL, MLS NEXT, and the Girls Academy help young players hone their skills and reach their full potential. These leagues offer comprehensive player development programs and training camps that focus on technical skills, tactical awareness, and individual growth. By nurturing young talents and providing exposure to college coaches and scouts, these platforms pave the way for promising players to pursue their soccer dreams.

    In addition to individual player development, these leagues contribute to the overall growth and professionalism of youth soccer in the United States. By setting high standards of competition and coaching, they raise the bar for youth soccer across the country. These platforms also provide a platform for young players to compete against top teams nationally, exposing them to challenging games that test their abilities and push them to improve.

    Impact on Youth Soccer DevelopmentECNLMLS NEXTGirls Academy
    Player DevelopmentComprehensive programs and camps
    Focus on technical skills and individual growth
    Top-tier coaching and competition
    Emphasis on nurturing players for professional levels
    Strong focus on technical skills
    Developmental Player League for growth opportunities
    Growth of Youth SoccerRaise the bar for competition and coaching
    Provide exposure to top teams nationally
    Contribute to the professionalism of youth soccer
    Focus on intense competition and player development
    Offer a unified top tier for girls’ soccer
    Allow players to compete for their schools

    The impact of the ECNL, MLS NEXT, and the Girls Academy extends beyond the individual player and club level. These platforms have played a significant role in fostering growth in youth soccer by providing young players with the resources, opportunities, and competition needed to thrive. By nurturing talent, raising standards, and contributing to the overall development of youth soccer, these leagues are shaping the future of the sport in the United States.

    Comparing League Structures

    In the world of youth soccer, the ECNL (Elite Clubs National League) and Elite 64 are two prominent platforms that offer high-level competition and development opportunities for young players. While both leagues strive to provide a top-tier soccer experience, they have distinct differences in their structures and focus.

    The ECNL operates on a national level and includes multiple conferences, consisting of 113 girls’ clubs and 131 boys’ clubs. It is known for its high standards of coaching, facilities, and regular top-level games. The ECNL’s structure emphasizes college recruitment, with ECNL National Events attracting college coaches and scouts. This league provides broad exposure for players seeking collegiate soccer opportunities.

    On the other hand, Elite 64 is a selective league that brings together 64 top youth clubs from across the country. Its structure focuses on high-level competition and player development, providing a platform for the best of the best. This league aims to nurture players with exceptional abilities and accelerate their growth as they pursue their soccer dreams.

    LeagueStructureMain Focus
    ECNLOperates on a national level with multiple conferencesEmphasizes college recruitment opportunities
    Elite 64Selective league consisting of 64 top youth clubsFocuses on high-level competition and player development

    When comparing the ECNL and Elite 64, it’s important to consider individual preferences and goals. If a player is looking to maximize their exposure for college recruitment, the ECNL may be the preferred choice. On the other hand, if a player is already at an elite level and seeking intense competition and accelerated growth, Elite 64 may provide the right environment.

    The decision between the ECNL and Elite 64 ultimately depends on a player’s needs, aspirations, and personal development goals. Each league offers unique opportunities and advantages, and players should carefully evaluate their own priorities when making a decision.

    Final Thoughts on ECNL vs USYS

    When considering whether to choose the ECNL or USYS for your youth soccer journey, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each platform. Both the ECNL and USYS offer valuable opportunities for player development and competition, but they have distinct differences that may influence your decision.

    The ECNL is known for its high standards of coaching, facilities, and emphasis on college recruitment. The league provides a platform for players to showcase their talent in top-level games and tournaments, attracting the attention of college coaches and scouts. On the other hand, USYS offers a wider range of participation options, including recreational and competitive levels, allowing players of all skill levels to enjoy the sport.

    Cost is also a factor to consider. While both leagues involve financial commitments, the average cost to participate in the ECNL is estimated to be around $8,000 per year, while USYS may offer more affordable options.

    ECNLUSYS
    Competition LevelHighly CompetitiveVaries (recreational to competitive)
    College Recruitment OpportunitiesHighly regarded eventsVarying opportunities
    CostAverage of $8,000 per yearVaries (more affordable options available)

    Ultimately, the choice between the ECNL and USYS depends on your specific goals, aspirations, and preferences. It’s important to consider factors such as competition level, college recruitment opportunities, and cost. Additionally, reaching out to other parents and individuals in the local soccer community for their insights and experiences can provide valuable perspectives.

    Conclusion

    As you weigh your options between the ECNL and USYS, it’s important to understand that there is no definitive answer as to which is better. The decision-making process should involve careful consideration of various factors to ensure you choose the right fit for your aspirations and preferences.

    Researching and gathering as much information as possible is crucial. Take the time to understand the differences between the two platforms, evaluate the competition levels, consider the college recruitment opportunities, and factor in the cost considerations. Additionally, club-specific factors should be taken into account, such as coaching qualifications, playing style, and the level of competition within the club.

    Ultimately, the right choice will be unique to you and your individual goals and needs. By going through a thorough decision-making process, you can make an informed choice and set yourself up for success in your soccer journey. Good luck in your future endeavors, and may you find the perfect platform to nurture your talent and reach your full potential!

    FAQ

    Is the ECNL better than USYS?

    The ECNL and USYS are both top-level soccer platforms for youth players in the United States. The choice between the two depends on various factors such as competition level, college recruitment opportunities, cost considerations, and club-specific factors. It’s important to research and gather information to make an informed decision based on individual goals and needs.

    What is the difference between the ECNL and USYS?

    The ECNL is known for its high standards of coaching, facilities, and regular top-level games. It has a strong emphasis on college recruitment. USYS provides opportunities for youth players at various levels and has a wider reach across the country. The specific differences depend on factors such as competition level, college recruitment opportunities, cost considerations, and club-specific factors.

    Which league offers better college recruitment opportunities?

    The ECNL has established itself as an elite resource for college recruitment, with ECNL National Events being highly regarded by college coaches and scouts. USYS and other leagues also provide opportunities for players to be seen by college coaches, but the pathway to college soccer may still heavily rely on playing through the college system. It’s important to consider the specific college recruitment opportunities offered by each league.

    Do the ECNL, MLS NEXT, and the Girls Academy provide a pathway to professional soccer?

    MLS NEXT and the Girls Academy both aim to provide a pathway to professional soccer for youth players. MLS NEXT is actively working to pave a direct path for academy players to go pro, while the Girls Academy focuses on developing players within a framework geared towards professional levels. However, it should be noted that the pathway to pro for women, in particular, still tends to go through college soccer.

    How much does it cost to participate in the ECNL, MLS NEXT, or the Girls Academy?

    The average cost to participate in the ECNL is estimated to be around $8,000 per year. The total cost associated with MLS NEXT and the Girls Academy varies depending on the club, but it can range from $4,000 to $10,000 per year. Scholarships and subsidized costs may be available for certain clubs affiliated with professional MLS teams. It’s important to consider the cost associated with each league when making a decision.

    How do the ECNL, MLS NEXT, and the Girls Academy prioritize player development?

    All three leagues prioritize player development and provide comprehensive player development programs. The ECNL and MLS NEXT offer training camps, identify top talent, and provide exposure to college coaches and scouts. The Girls Academy has a strong emphasis on technical skills and individual growth. It’s important to evaluate the specific player development programs offered by each league.

    What should I consider when choosing a specific club within the ECNL, MLS NEXT, or the Girls Academy?

    When choosing a specific club, consider factors such as the club’s emphasis on recruiting versus developing their own players, the level of competition within the club, the club’s style of play, the coach’s qualifications and experience, and the number of teams the coach is responsible for. These club-specific factors can greatly impact the player’s experience and development.

    How do I find the right fit between the ECNL, MLS NEXT, and the Girls Academy?

    Finding the right fit depends on factors such as the player’s aspirations, preferences, competition level, college recruitment opportunities, cost considerations, and club-specific factors. It’s important to gather as much information as possible and seek guidance from trusted individuals in the soccer community. Ultimately, the right choice will be unique to each player and their individual goals and needs.

    How do the ECNL, MLS NEXT, and the Girls Academy impact youth soccer development?

    The ECNL, MLS NEXT, and the Girls Academy all play a significant role in the development of youth soccer in the United States. These platforms provide opportunities for young players to compete at a high level, receive top-tier coaching, and showcase their talents. They contribute to the overall growth and professionalism of youth soccer, fostering a competitive and nurturing environment for young players to thrive.

    What are the differences between the ECNL and Elite 64?

    While the ECNL and Elite 64 both exist as top-level soccer platforms, they have different league structures. The ECNL operates on a national level and includes multiple conferences, while Elite 64 brings together a select group of 64 top youth clubs from across America. The ECNL focuses on providing exposure for college recruitment, while Elite 64 emphasizes high-level competition and player development. The choice between the two depends on individual preferences and goals.

    How do I make a decision between the ECNL and USYS?

    When deciding between the ECNL and USYS, there is no definitive answer as to which is better. It depends on various factors such as the player’s goals, competition level, college recruitment opportunities, cost considerations, and club-specific factors. Both platforms offer unique benefits and opportunities for young players. It is important for players and their families to research and gather as much information as possible to make an informed decision based on their specific needs and aspirations.

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