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The City Islanders Academy: Encouraging Professional Growth in Soccer

By Elisha Neubauer

Elisha Neubauer Abstract:

The City Islanders Academy, nicknamed CIA, was created in an attempt to promote quality soccer training for the youth of Central Pennsylvania. The program utilizes the players and staff from the professional team, as well as area club and college coaches, to provide training and opportunities for college recruitment and professional soccer prospects. The first step in developing youth players, the CIA is affiliated with both US Soccer and US Club Soccer leagues and is specifically designed to aid talented youth players in their journey to become professionals in the sport.

Eric Pettis, owner of the Harrisburg City Islanders, says the inspiration behind forming the Academy was simple. "Part of the reason we started the PRO team was to have an outlet for youth to have role models to aspire to be like. Once we had the PRO team it was an obvious decision to start the CIA programs with PRO players as coaches and trainers," says Pettis.

Pettis, is extremely pleased with the success of the program, noting that they have had several players progress through the system. "The long term plan [of CIA] was to help develop quality players from Central PA progress through our system into the pros. We have had Garret Pettis, Danny DiPrima and ironically Dante Leverock from Bermuda who came through the system and are now on the PRO team roster."

Programs like the CIA are important to the youth of America. Sports create strong building blocks in their social and emotional development and are important for team building and sportsmanship- skills they'll take with them for life. Pettis says that, "Sports helped me develop into a competitor. I believe the discipline you have to have to be a successful athlete translates to business. If you look at many of the people I hire, they were or are athletes. They know what it takes to get to the top."

The program also offers summer camps to further the development of their players. Using a competitive environment, the CIA's summer camps challenge and improve players' skills. The camps are specifically crafted to guarantee that players of all levels are challenged and focused- while maintaining the element of fun.

The City Islanders Academy is always accepting new members. "If you're involved with soccer in Central Pennsylvania," says the organization, "we hope you'll soon either be playing for the City Islanders Academy or learning from the City Islanders Academy."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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