With the help of the K12 education program, D.C. United Academy players are taking advantage of more accommodating hours in the classroom to maintain their progress toward their high school degrees, while also receiving more elite training opportunities to accelerate their skill development on the pitch.
The K12 International Academy at D.C. United is providing players an education model that offers both classroom-based and online instruction. The flexibility lets players achieve academic success and receive more intensive training with Academy staff. Equipped with an array of core and elective courses and an on-site learning coach to monitor progress, the program is currently being used by players from right in D.C., to players from Oklahoma who have come to the District to take advantage of the Academy’s unique opportunity.
Students enrolled in the program take classes in United’s Academy offices, allowing for more on-field sessions afterwards. The online aspect removes scheduling issues for students who may have missed classes otherwise, allowing young talents to more easily balance their academic studies and elite development programs. The dual nature of the education program also gives Academy talent the chance to travel more on a weekly basis to regional and national competitions—the increased exposure introducing players to a vast network of collegiate, professional, and national team coaches.
D.C. United Academy Director Ryan Martin sees the program as a unique, valuable opportunity that aids in the development process for young players.
“The K12 program provides an option to kids who are serious about getting a strong education and competing in a highly-competitive developmental environment,” Martin said. “It removes scheduling conflicts and creates better opportunities for young talent to be recognized and nurtured without interfering with schooling.”
Open to out-of-state and local players ranging from ages 15-18, the K12 program also offers on-site software training and academic oversight, and a team house with a house parent should the player not live in the area. Players continue on track toward their degrees while competing in the D.C. United Academy, which has produced a number of Homegrown talents including Ian Harkes, Chris Durkin, and Bill Hamid, as well as more than 80 collegiate players since its founding.