The Cleveland Soccer Academy Prepares for Its Return to the Continental Cup

The Cleveland Soccer Academy gains valuable experience against international competition at the Continental Cup.

The Continental Cup International Youth Sports Festival returns to Cleveland, Ohio for its ninth consecutive year. Throughout the Fourth of July holiday weekend, thousands of basketball, baseball and soccer athletes from across the globe will compete in over 550 games.

One of the 228 organizations competing in the event is the Cleveland Soccer Academy (CSA), which will have multiple boys and girls teams of different age levels vying for a championship. We followed the team to learn how they prepare for the festival and find out what the competition means to them.

At the 2013 Continental Cup, the CSA Sounders took fourth place in the Under-10 boys competition, but the biggest aspect of the event for the coaches was the opportunity to compete at an international level right in their hometown.

CSA coach and former pro soccer player Kia Zolgharnain focuses on preparing his athletes for the next level of competition, and he uses the Continental Cup to keep his serious players training during the month of July. Zolgharnain says, "We get to experience playing against teams from all over the world; you can't replicate that."

The opportunity to play in the summer against international teams plays a pivotal role in player development and provides global competition for CSA without the need to travel.

Check out the video above to see how the Cleveland Soccer Academy prepares to take on international competition in the Continental Cup.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

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