The Cougar Soccer Club has signed a new training partnership with Elite Soccer Academy (ESA) to provide professional soccer training and development for children in Maplewood and South Orange, NJ. The new agreement will begin in August 2021 and will deliver a dedicated training staff for the entire Cougar S.C. program from the youngest 3-year-old players up through the high school level teams.

Cougar S.C. is proud to have more than 300 players from the Maplewood and South Orange area competing as part of 20 travel teams in the Northern County Soccer Association for the Fall 2021 season as well as more than 250 children participating in the developmental academy program.

“We are thrilled to enter into a new era for the Cougar Soccer Club as ESA will help our children develop fully physically and socially,” said Mike Minghenelli, president of Cougar S.C.

ESA, based in Franklin Lakes, NJ, has been a leader in soccer education for Northern New Jersey since founded in 2002. Elite Soccer Academy’s programming looks to develop the full athlete by providing a combination of technical training, sports performance, and mental skill development. ESA will provide professional training during weekly practices as well as partnering with parent coaches to lead the team during games.

Cougar S.C. has provided the Maplewood and South Orange community with a travel youth soccer program for over 50 years. It was founded in 1965 by Maplewood soccer coach Gene Chyzowych. As a self-funded, not-for-profit organization of parent volunteers, the club promotes youth soccer for players who want to learn, train and play at the very highest levels of competition. More than 10,000 children have played with Cougar S.C. The club is grateful to the hundreds of parents who have volunteered during this same period.

“We are truly excited about welcoming the players and teams from Cougar Soccer Club to ESA,” said Bryan Amaya, director of operations of ESA. “Our discussions with the club’s leadership demonstrated that ESA and Cougar Soccer Club share the same values of teamwork, technical development and sportsmanship.”