Darlington School Soccer Academy is the 10-month 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.
Founded in 2005, the Soccer Academy is directed by Chad Liddle, who has served for many years on the national staffs for U.S. Soccer and NSCAA as well as with U.S. Club Soccer’s Id2 program and Region III ODP. He became one of the youngest USSF “A” license coaches in U.S. Soccer history by earning his license at the age of 23. During his tenure with U.S. Soccer, Liddle worked with the U 17 National Team in residency in Florida, which is where he first saw the benefits of a residential soccer program and his idea for a Soccer Academy began to take shape.
Liddle 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. Unique in several aspects, the Soccer Academy program integrates a strong academic curriculum, state-of-the-art speed and agility training equipment and facilities, and professional instruction to develop the highest potential in every player regardless of skill level. The Soccer Academy achieves success through an intense training and competition schedule. Its all-weather turf and sport performance facility guarantees student-athletes have the opportunity to develop the entire school year.
Liddle and his team of coaches are also committed to developing and mapping out college recruitment strategies that fit each athlete’s unique academic and athletic abilities. The Soccer Academy has placed over 98% of its graduates into college soccer programs across the United States. The Class of 2013 had 19 players graduate, earning over $2.5 million in scholarships. Player videos and profiles coupled with the staff’s strong network of college coaches are essential tools in facilitating the recruitment and college placement process. The Soccer Academy has exposed players to more than 200 college campuses in the past 10 years.
Darlington School Soccer Academy has established relationships with U.S. Soccer, West Ham United International Academy, the NSCAA Coaching Education Academy, Fc Utrecht, Wolverhampton Wolves and other well-known soccer entities. The Academy competes as a U.S. Club Soccer team in club friendlies, U.S. Club Regional and National Championships, college showcases, nationally recognized tournaments and collegiate level scrimmages. Every two years, the Soccer Academy travels abroad to expose players to international competition in tournaments and friendlies. To date, the Soccer Academy has traveled and competed in England, Spain, Holland, Germany and Italy. In summer 2014, the Soccer Academy will travel to Portugal and Spain. Opportunities are also available with the ECNL, the Olympic Development Program and U.S. Club id2.
The Soccer Academy meets daily after school from 4 to 6:15 p.m. for training. Two mornings a week, sports-specific speed and agility sessions are available. Darlington residential students who participate in the Soccer Academy live in one of the school’s six student houses – three for boys, three for girls. The house system is the backbone of the family-like atmosphere at Darlington, developing strong student-faculty relationships. More than 50% of the school’s faculty and staff members live on campus, providing invaluable support and interaction with students both in and out of the classroom.
- 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