When Continental FC and the Philadelphia Union face off in the Development Academy, you can guarantee there’s plenty of ribbing going on the week of at YSC Academy, the private school players from both teams attend.
The two local youth clubs renew their rivalry with games on Saturday at The Proving Grounds in Conshohocken and a return fixture back at YSC Sports in April.
For Union U19 defender Ramzi Qawasmy, Saturday will be mark the first time he’s playing against Continental FC. The defender from Lansdale joined the Union Academy last summer but has been a student at YSC Academy since eighth grade.
“I’m focusing on playing my best,” Qawasmy said. “It’s important to me to start the spring strong and I’m excited for the rest of the season. It’s a big game for YSC and I’m sure it’ll be surreal.”
Qawasmy was one of two Continental FC players who joined the Union last summer. Jeremy Rafanello, who leads the team with 16 goals in 14 matches, was the other.
Raimondo Partito, a Continental FC defender who is headed to Providence College in the fall with Qawasmy, said he’s been looking forward to playing both with and against classmates. Continental FC teammates Max Graham, Jalen Weatherspoon and Andrew Taber also attend the school.
“We’ve been bantering all week,” Partito said. “Both games being in the spring gives even more motivation to an already intense rivalry, especially the second game.”
The two teams enter the first match of the spring on opposite ends of the Atlantic Division standings. The Union (10-2-2) are in second place, 13 points behind the unbeaten New York Red Bulls while Continental is four points above last place Richmond United in ninth place with a 3-9-1 record.
None of that will matter on Saturday when the two teams kick off their game at 4:45 p.m.
“For me and Jalen and Max and Ramzi, we’ve been together since eighth grade, so it also means a lot for us to get to play together for one last spring whether we’re on the same team or not,” Partito said.
Saturday’s games kick off at 10 a.m. with two U12 matches, followed by the U13 & U15 games at noon and the U14 and U17s at 2:15 p.m.