(Akron, OH) has joined the league as an expansion team. The club will begin competition in the Midwest Region in 2022.
“We are excited to announce Akron City FC as an expansion team for the 2022 season,” NPSL Managing Director Cindy Spera said. “Akron is a historically great soccer market thanks largely to the success of the University of Akron’s soccer program, as well as its thriving youth soccer community. Northeast Ohio as a whole is one of the most passionate sports markets in the entire country. This is a really exciting time for soccer fans and supporters in Akron.”
The ownership group has worked closely with civic organizations and local stakeholders throughout the process, including The Sports Alliance of Greater Akron, Powered by the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau. Mary Tricaso, Director of Sales, has been in touch weekly with the ownership group throughout the process.
“Since day one we have been extremely impressed by Akron City’s ownership group,” Tricaso said. “They are entrepreneurs and innovators that boast decades of sports business and media experience and we are extremely confident they’ll deliver on their vision to bring a successful soccer team and operation to Akron.”
Kia Zolgharnain, better known simply as Kia, will lead the technical direction of the team and have a large input into the player acquisition process. Kia is a highly respected member of the Northeast Ohio soccer community as both a decorated former player and accomplished coach. From 1983-2000 he scored 527 goals in 534 professional indoor appearances with the likes of the Phoenix Pride, Canton Invaders, Kansas City Comets, Tacoma Stars, Pittsburgh Stingers, and Cleveland Crunch. He is best known for his success with the Invaders where he scored an astonishing 324 goals.
The Akron City FC owners are committed to running a professional organization that the people of Akron can be proud of. Essential to its mission, the club will also look to unite the soccer community and help promote and grow the game within the region.
“Akron is an exciting market, which we have earmarked for years as an ideal expansion location,” NPSL Director of Membership Development Dina Case said. “The Akron City FC ownership group is extremely well prepared and brings decades of sports business and soccer experience to the table. We look forward to seeing this club become a premier organization in the NPSL. We expect Akron City FC to have a strong impact on the Midwest Region in their very first season and for years to come.”
More information about expansion opportunities in the NPSL can be found at npsl.com/expansion.