Darlington School Soccer Academy is the year-round soccer training program offered by Darlington School. Offered to day and resident students as an extracurricular opportunity, the Soccer Academy enrolls highly motivated male and female student-athletes who share a common goal – to obtain a premier college-preparatory education and elite soccer training within a single, competitive program.
The Soccer Academy is directed by USSF “A” licensed coach Chad A. Liddle, who also serves as a staff coach for U.S. Soccer, NSCAA and Region III ODP. He and his staff of nationally licensed coaches and performance training specialists have designed a training regimen that develops each participant to his or her maximum potential. This program is unique in several aspects. By integrating a strong academic curriculum, state-of-the-art athletic facilities, and professional instruction on the course, the academy develops the highest potential in every player regardless of skill level. Liddle and his staff achieve success through solid fundamentals, clear communication and state-of-the-art digital video analysis technology. This dedicated team of coaches is also committed to mapping out college recruitment strategies that fit each athlete’s unique academic and athletic abilities. Player and statistical video analysis profiles coupled with a strong network of college coaches and the school’s extensive college counseling program are essential tools in facilitating the recruitment process.
The Soccer Academy has established relationships with U.S. Soccer, West Ham United International Academy and other well-known soccer entities. The Academy competes as a U.S. Club Soccer team in club friendlies, college showcases, national tournaments and collegiate-level scrimmages. Once every two years, they travel abroad so that players can be exposed to international competition in the form of tournaments and friendlies. Opportunities are also available with the United Soccer League, the Olympic Development Program and U.S. Club id2.
The Soccer Academy meets daily from 4 to 6:15 p.m. Darlington resident students who participate in the Soccer Academy live in one of the school’s six student houses, three for boys and three for girls. The house system is the backbone of the family-like atmosphere at Darlington, developing strong student-faculty relationships. Fifty-five percent of the school’s faculty and staff members live on campus and provide invaluable support and interaction with students both in and out of the classroom.
Chad Liddle has worked in Darlington admissions and athletics since August 2004. He is a member of the U.S. Soccer National Instructor Staff, NSCAA Associate Staff Coach, Region III ODP Staff, and was recently appointed as an Id2 national scout for U.S. Club Soccer. He holds a USSF “A” license and is a member of many other professional soccer organizations. Chad holds a B.S. from Berry College and a M.S.M. from the University of Georgia. He enjoys traveling, spending time with his family, hiking and rafting with his children, and simply enjoying the outdoors. He and his wife, Darcy, a Middle School P.E. teacher at Darlington, have two sons, Landon (’21) and Alex (’20).
Kevin Ray, assistant director of Darlington School Soccer Academy and head girls' coach, holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from the University of Montevallo and has coached soccer for 13 years. Most recently, he was assistant men’s soccer coach at Auburn University – Montgomery. Previously, he coached at Huntingdon College and for the Panama City Pirates, the Eclipse Soccer Club (a Nike Premier Club in Houston, Texas), the New Territory Fusion Soccer Club and Troy University’s NCAA Division I Women’s Program. He has also been involved in the Alabama Youth Soccer Association for nine years as a head coach for the Olympic Development Program. A native of England, Ray came to the United States in 1997 to attend college. His and his wife, Tinsley, who teaches pre-K at Darlington, have one daughter, Addie ('20).
Jeff Haigler has been a Soccer Academy staff coach since 2008. He graduated with honors from Presbyterian College, where he earned his B.S. in Biology and was a four-year member of the varsity soccer team. During college, he was elected team captain and was also an All-Conference selection. Jeff holds a USSF “A” License, and is a member of the Georgia ODP Staff. He coached previously at Dutch Fork High School and with Columbia United Club, both in South Carolina. He enjoys spending time with family, playing and watching sports, and being outdoors.
- Four professionally manicured Bermuda soccer fields
- A.J. Huffman ’67 Memorial Athletic Center, a 96,000-square-foot facility complete with natatorium, indoor track, weight room, wrestling room, locker rooms, meeting rooms, four multi-purpose courts and performance gym
- Rubberized Olympic track
- Digital projection and computer-enabled classrooms
- Top-of-the-line goals, field equipment and video-analysis software
- All-weather indoor training facility
- 400-acre campus with wooded trails and spring-fed lake
- Technical—individual and functional/position-specific skills training
- Tactics—Individual awareness, small and large group tactics
- Physical—Soccer-specific strength, speed, and endurance development as well as nutrition education
- Psychological—Relationship development and mental conditioning, life skills
- College Experience Program—Gives student-athletes the tools necessary to make sound decisions regarding the college or university they would like to attend. College tours are arranged in conjunction with trips to showcases and tournaments so that players are exposed to a variety of different institutions around the country. These tours often involve meetings with the admission and coaching staffs as well as a training session or competition on the campus. In an increasingly competitive world of college admissions, this face-to-face interaction is one more way to differentiate our players from other applicants. Since 2007, the Soccer Academy has visited more than 100 college campuses and helped place 96 percent of its alumni in a college or professional soccer program. These students have earned well over $2 million in scholarships
Link to 2013 Soccer Summer Camps
Academy Tuition Payments
Darlington School partners with FACTS, offering parents a convenient online method of automatic academy tuition payments. Click on the logo above to set up your FACTS account and payment plan. If you have any questions, please contact Leslie Finley at (706) 236-0411.