With the help of ASU Prep Digital staff and educators, six American students are pursuing their dream of becoming professional soccer players in Europe without sacrificing their school work.
Christian Chandler, Cameron Hein, Trace Higham, Antonios Loukas, Colin McGinnity and Christian Pöhlein have found success both on the pitch and in the classroom.
The six Sun Devils are immersed in the professional soccer environment of Bundesliga Club FC Shalke 04, where they live and train with 16 teammates from the U.S. and Canada on the famed Schalke Youth Academy’s Knappenschmiede campus in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. They practice twice a day, play matches once a week, and still manage to keep up with their studies.
It’s all thanks to a groundbreaking initiative that launched earlier this fall among ASU Prep Digital’s online school program, the famed Bundesliga talent department, and the International Soccer Academy.
Not surprisingly, the program demands round-the-clock dedication by the young athletes. But that doesn’t deter the six ASU Prep Digital students participating.
“We’re responsible for our own learning and spending our time wisely around our soccer schedules,” said Hein. “During my first few months with ASU Prep Digital, I’ve built relationships with my teachers who help me with assignments, time management and other general questions.”
Each ASU Prep Digital student is paired with a Learning Success Coach who can help them navigate their workload based on their unique schedule and circumstances.
“ASU Prep Digital makes school easier when you’re in a residential program like we are because it frees up your day to train in the mornings with our coaches,” added McGinnity. “I like being able to do sections of my courses throughout the day versus trying to cram it into one sitting. Our Learning Success Coach, Christine D’Antonio, is very helpful with anything we need, like adjusting schedules.”
ASU Prep Digital students enjoy the flexibility of being able to take their education wherever they go, with online school programs available 24/7 designed to help them learn at their own pace. They also have the opportunity to take concurrent college courses to help them earn college credits before they graduate. These are just some of the many benefits students enjoy when they join ASU Prep Digital’s virtual learning environment.
ASU Prep Digital’s coursework is designed to meet students where they are within their own academic parameters, all while putting them on a purposeful path to college. The virtual school encourages autonomy, responsibility and collaboration among the students, preparing them for college and setting them up for successful careers. It can make a world of difference for young learners who still want a full and rewarding academic experience while pursuing their extracurricular dreams.
The International Soccer Academy is the world’s leading youth soccer and professional career bridging program that provides pathways for elite young players aspiring to play abroad. Its FC Schalke 04 U18 Integrated Academy is a first-of-its-kind, highly competitive nine-month program that provides an authentic player development experience abroad. The inaugural squad was handpicked by scouts and coaches from the FC Schalke 04 sporting department after an extensive nationwide search and evaluation process. Only one in every ten players was approved by the scouts and offered a roster spot to join the Integrated Academy team.
To date, the team has competed against regional academy teams and are set to take on top-tier teams later in the season, including Hertha Berlin, Arminia Bielefeld and Fortuna Düsseldorf. So far this season, they’ve played ten games and posted an impressive record of 5-3-2 and netted 18 goals. The team’s grades are sure to be just as impressive.
To learn more about ASU Prep Digital’s flexible online school programs, visit asuprepdigital.org.