Hugh Eaton, Taking Power Shots
Hugh Eaton, 17-year-old ASU Prep Digital student athlete, is taking power shots when it comes to his future, getting a jump start on his professional soccer career. Overseas. While still in high school.
Because of ASU Prep Digital’s flexible and personalized online curriculum, Hugh is able to continue his schooling while also playing forward for Hertha Berlin’s elite Integrated Academy team in Germany. Hugh was recruited for this prestigious opportunity as part of the International Soccer Academy, a program that brings talented North American players to Europe to train on dedicated teams at top Bundesliga and La Liga youth soccer academies.
Giving 100 Percent to School and Soccer
Hugh says he’s loved soccer since he started playing at around eight years old and knew he wanted to play professionally after watching the World Cup tournament. As for his family, Hugh says, “They fell in love with soccer when I started playing. They love watching the game. And they know that it’s my dream to become a professional, so they’re 100 percent behind me.”
“You’ve got to be independent. You’ve got to be mature and disciplined. You’re coming all the way from the USA to Germany to do this, you’ve got to work really hard on it.”
Hugh himself has learned about giving 100 percent. He says that to be a part of this program, “You’ve got to be independent. You’ve got to be mature and disciplined. You’re coming all the way from the USA to Germany to do this, you’ve got to work really hard on it.”
For Hugh, this means moving away from Southern California for eight months to develop as a youth soccer player. He had previously traveled to England and Spain to play soccer but only for two weeks and with the company of his parents. This time, he was living in dorm-style housing with teammates while balancing classwork and training.
As part of his ASU Prep Digital curriculum this year, Hugh took on German, Chemistry, and Precalculus. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot more in online school because for the most part, it’s very independent,” explains Hugh. “You meet with teachers regularly, and they have been great and very supportive,” he says. Regarding the nine-hour time difference with his ASU Prep Digital teachers, he explains that they’ve been flexible about scheduling meeting times for Discussion Based Assessments around his soccer training and competitive matches. At ASU Prep Digital, Hugh has been able to be a successful student earning high academic marks and balancing the demands of taking his soccer skills to the next level.
Hugh says playing for International Soccer Academy at Hertha Berlin has given him a glimpse into what it will be like to play professionally, with access to the best coaches, physical therapists and training facilities while also playing with and against fierce competitors. Getting to attend professional Hertha Berlin matches has also been a bonus.
“I feel like I’ve learned a lot more in online school because for the most part, it’s very independent.”
Having Some Fun
Hugh says the friendships he’s made have been a highlight of his time in the program. When arriving in Berlin, he did not know any of his teammates, but the camaraderie came naturally through shared experiences like traveling, practices and games, and meals at their “hotel” — the Berliner Fußball-Verband.
He laughs, remembering when a smaller teammate scored a header, and everyone ran to him, jumping on him, celebrating. Talking about his teammates, he says, “They’re like best friends now because I’ve spent almost every minute of the last year with them.”
Hugh has returned home until August and is looking forward to spending time with family and friends and his former coaches.
Lucas, his former roommate, a fellow ASU Prep Digital student, is also from Southern California, and they both are returning after the summer for a second year of intense training at International Soccer Academy — this time at FC Schalke 04. He’ll also be completing his senior year with ASU Prep Digital.