Beach school soccer program earns national ranking for academics

Posted at 10:15 AM, Feb 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-05 10:15:49-05

Photo credit - Flickr user: Elvert Barnes

Virginia Beach, Va. – Ocean Lakes High School’s boys’ and girls’ soccer teams have received the National Academic Award from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. To earn this award, the team grade point average (GPA) must be at least 3.25 (on a 4.0 scale) for all team members who appear on the official eligibility roster for the season.

This is the 10th consecutive year the Ocean Lakes boys’ team has earned this distinction, and the 12th year overall.

With this year’s award, Ocean Lakes is now in the top five schools nationwide for earning the most team academic awards.

“We are always proud of the dedication and work our student-athletes display on the field,” said Cheryl Askew, principal of Ocean Lakes High School. “But this program applies that same discipline and focus to their academics in a way that is nothing short of inspirational to fellow athletes, leaders and students who see in it action.”

The boys’ team, coached by Donald Hart, had a cumulative GPA of 3.73 for the 2011-12 school year. Hart credits a comprehensive approach to the players’ academics, which starts with encouraging players to have at least a 3.0 when they try out.

“I was hired as an educator first, and it is our responsibility to ensure they prioritize their education,” Hart said. He added that the soccer teams have a multi-faceted program that helps maintain these grades, including having freshman create academic resumes then update them every year; and sending students struggling in a subject area to tutoring before allowing them to come to practice as well as encouraging mentoring/tutoring within the team.

The academic awards were handed out at the 2013 NSCAA Convention, which was held last month in Indianapolis, Ind.

Also receiving accolades at the convention was the Ocean Lakes girls’ soccer team, which picked up its sixth consecutive National Academic Award after earning a 3.92 GPA for the 2011-2012 school year.