The United Neighborhood Organization is a Chicago group that works to address local issues within the city’s Hispanic neighborhoods. One of those issues is schooling, and to that end UNO operates charter schools to serve their constituency. The newest addition to that list is the UNO Soccer Academy, which not only makes soccer a central part of the curriculum, but looks amazing as well.
The UNO Soccer Academy’s focus centers on the game of soccer augmenting academics. The school employs USSF licensed coaches to provide both group and individual instruction. The school day is 25% longer than the norm to better incorporate the soccer curriculum, and students received 3-5 hours of soccer-related fitness education weekly. The academic program includes subjects within history, literature, cultural studies, and other academic area that connect directly with a passion for soccer.
The school was also noted by public radio station WBEZ as one of the architectural highlights of 2011, and it’s easy to see why.
The total cost of the building is over $27 million, and includes the small rubber-surface practice field adjacent to the school itself. The school opened in September, with 576 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Over 800 signed up for the lottery to get a coveted spot at the school, with almost all of them Hispanic kids from Chicago’s Southwest neighborhoods. The ultimate goal, per UNO, is to use soccer as means of engaging soccer-mad students. Soccer is the carrot, but academics remain the main concern.
And if a few students go on to become excellent soccer players, that’s okay too.
The school is without a name for the time being, but hope to name it after a famous footballer. First choice, according to UNO CEO Juan Rangel, is to name it after Edson Arandes do Nascimento, otherwise known as Pele.
Source: Chicago Sun Times