The goal is to find the most challenging level of competition for each individual player and each team. One that will challenge their technical abilities, work rate, and tactical comprehension, but at the same time if they perform those qualities will provide them with success and achievement. Therefore, with the skill levels and rates of development ranging from one player to the next and across different age groups, the club continues to compete in a variety of different outlets for competition to ensure that all players are in an appropriate atmosphere for their current development. These include are listed below:
The CASA league is the local league, comprised of the various clubs within the Greater Cleveland area. All age groups compete in both a Winter Session and a Spring/Summer Session, with the non-high school age groups also competing in a Fall Session. Travel is limited most outdoor games played at the Lodi complex and indoor games played at either Lodi, PSA, or Cleveland State. The focus at this level is on the individual player's skill development and age-appropriate tactical themes.
At the U-12, U-13, and U-14 stages, a selected roster is pulled to compete in the Super Y-League season. At this point, the competition level rises with the focus beginning to shift towards personal production on the field and helping the team generate positive results. Rosters are selected by the coaching staff based on the available players' current playing level and abilities, with playing time determined by production on the field and improvements being made. Travel is required to various locations around the MidWest region. Success in the season provides the opportunity to then advance to a regional and national championship and player evaluations take place in an effort to identify players for National Team consideration.
National Premier League
At the U-13 and older stages, a selected roster competes in the National Premier League organized by US Club Soccer as an extension of the Development Academy program. Inclusion in the NPL is only offered to a select number of clubs in the country that are able to offer the high level of player development, coaching, and competition that Internationals has proven over the years. Participation allows for our players to be evaluated by the US Soccer staff through their id2 program. The general focus is on preparing those players that are ready to compete at that level towards the next level in their development, which for most will be the Development Academy teams. Most teams that participate in the NPL also have teams that also compete in the Development Academy system, so it serves as an excellent introduction to the environment and level of play that these players will be introduced to in the upcoming years. Travel is required to various locations around the MidWest region.
Throughout the year, age groups will compete in a variety of tournaments both locally and nationally. Some that have become regulars on the annual schedule are the Fort Wayne United Puma Cup (Ft.Wayne, IN), OP Eagles Cup (Columbus, OH), SuperY Championships (Tampa, FL), Presidents Day Invitational (Phoenix, AZ), Blast Cup (Columbus, OH), Pacesetter Memorial Day Invitational (Toledo, OH) and our own club hosted tournaments. Selection for teams and players to compete in these various competitions are based on the player's and team's current level of development and support of the goal to put them in challenging and beneficial game environments.
At the end of the developmental ladder is participation in the highly competitive U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy. Internationals SC is the only club in Northern Ohio that has been provided the ability to compete at this highest level of youth soccer in the country, and one of only 78 such clubs in the country. Teams compete at 2 age levels (U15/16 and U17/18), with tryouts required for selection to participate. The level of training and time commitment is extremely high with training sessions 3-4 times a week and a competition schedule that requires travel around the country. For those that are chosen to participate, it is the ultimate preparation for a player to continue on in their development to the collegiate and/or professional ranks. The full support and commitment of resources from U.S. Soccer into this organizational approach is proving successful with the current number of players moving on to the professional level in leagues around the world in recent years.