Wake County Schools

Cary school has goal of producing top soccer players

Posted August 17

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— The Olympics showcase athletes from around the world, and many times, athletes from outside the United States begin their training from an early age, averaging more practice hours than their American counterparts.

A new school that opened this week in Cary is aiming to change the way soccer is taught.

Chris Mumford, the Acclerator School founder, says the concept of the school is similar to that of a music conservatory.

Students spend many hours each week practicing soccer, working to perfect it as a skill, while also keeping up with school work.

"Music conservatory students have been practicing for 15 hours. We want to do the same for soccer," Mumford said.

The Accelerator School accepted about 20 students for its inaugural year. The goal is to have students who can compete globally in the sport they love.

On an average day, Mumford says students will train for about 90 minutes in the morning, stretch and have a snack before going to their first classes. The school rents space from WakeMed Soccer Park and has just a middle school class this year.

Heather Waters' son William is in the first class at the school. Waters says she was comfortable with the format because she grew up in a similar setting.

"William was ready. He wanted to take his soccer to the next level, and he was ready to put the hours in," Waters said. "Any time you change your child's environment, it's going to be something different, but if it's something that they love and something that they requested, I had to give it a good chance."

Student Trace Alphim said he's looking forward to the challenge the school will present.

"It's just going to be amazing. It's going to be challenging academically and physically," Alphim said.

Alphim says soccer is what keeps him focused in the classroom.

"Just learning about history and math, it helps you calculate percentages of shots saved," Alphim said. "For me, as a goalkeeper, it just helps overall being a good student academically."

The school will use online technology and new teaching methods in the classroom in an effort to help students use that knowledge in their athletic careers, Mumford said. The academic curriculum is based on the STEAM method – science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

"I'm a big believer that having kids sit in a classroom for seven or eight hours a day with no physical activity is a disservice, and we want to help change that conversation," Mumford said. "We think we can achieve excellence in both soccer and academics."

3 Comments

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  • Chip Griswold III Aug 18, 9:06 a.m.
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    Perhaps a goal to produce top students would be good too.

  • Johnny Ghosts Aug 18, 3:26 a.m.
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    Looks like a school for rich white kids, just what Cary needs.

  • David Buck Aug 17, 8:25 p.m.
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    Burn out on the way for some kids.