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Carolina Elite Soccer Academy Announces W-League and Under 20 Partnership with Central Carolina Cobras

CESA and Central S.C. Cobras partner to offer W-League Women's soccer in 2013.


Cobras Partner With Carolina Elite Soccer Academy
Working together to further women’s soccer in South Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Central S.C. Cobras have announced a partnership with Carolina Elite Soccer Academy that will help grow women’s soccer in South Carolina while providing increased opportunities for elite-level players.
Carolina Elite Soccer Academy (CESA) is a Greenville-based club with more than 3,000 members ranging in age from 4 to 19. Formed in 2004, CESA has consistently produced high-level female players who have gone on to compete at many of the top college soccer programs in the Southeast. The Central S.C. Cobras are preparing for their second year of participation in the USL W-League.
“The primary purpose of our organization has always been to provide soccer opportunities for women who wish to continue playing at a high level after their collegiate careers are complete,” said Ewell Gordon, owner and president of the Cobras. “It’s why we joined the W-League and it is now why we have entered into a partnership with Carolina Elite Soccer Academy (CESA).
“There were numerous reasons why the partnership with CESA makes sense, but the single most important reason is the organizations’ goals and objectives for the future of women’s soccer in South Carolina are a direct fit.”
In addition to the W-League team, the Carolina Elite Cobras will field a Super-20 League team beginning in 2013. The Super-20 League team will be used primarily as a developmental team which will provide the training and competition required to prepare players for W-League play.
In 2012 the Cobras were the only expansion franchise to have a player named to the W-League All-Conference team as Tabitha Padgett was recognized for her play. A successful 2012 season saw the first-year franchise amass a record of 3-4-5. The team competed well in matches against both the eventual 2012 division champions, the Charlotte Lady Eagles, and the 2011 W-League Champions, the Atlanta Silverbacks. The Cobras are looking to build on that success as they begin preparations for the 2013 season.
Cobras General Manager and Head Coach Sandy Burris was pleased with the team after its inaugural season.
“To be able to bring this level of soccer to the state of South Carolina and to be successful is a great feeling,” Burris said. “I have known [CESA’s] Andrew [Hyslop] for many years and consider him a pioneer and true advocate for women’s soccer at every level. CESA has built a reputation for producing high-level women’s teams at every age group so being able to partner and bring in the Super-20s is exciting. If you look at the players from South Carolina that have played in the W-League for other teams, it will be nice to be able to give them an opportunity to play for their home team, families, and local supporters.”
“For CESA this partnership makes sense,” said Hyslop, CESA’s co-executive director. “We have many of our former players who are now playing at the college level and they will be able to train and play in the summer either at the Super-20 or W-League level. In addition, our up-and-coming younger players who currently compete at the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) and USYSA levels will be able to see a potential path forward that will allow them to continue developing and enjoying the game while playing at a very competitive standard.
“The best younger players in our program and beyond will be given the chance to train with the Super-20s and I am confident that the local soccer community will support the Cobras games that will be scheduled here in Greenville this summer. I’m also hopeful that many of the top youth and college players in South Carolina will want to be a part of the Carolina Elite Cobras organization.”
The newly named Carolina Elite Cobras will once again compete in the Southeast Division in 2013. In 2012 the division included the Charlotte Lady Eagles, Atlanta Silverbacks, VSI Tampa Flames and FC Jax Destroyers.

For more information about the Cobras visit, contact the club offices at 803.661.9668 or email