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Asheboro High's drone soccer team captured first place in a regional tournament hosted by Virginia Tech. From left are Jonathan Jaimes, Samuel Castro-Perez, Jaycoll Reyes, Coach Wendy Graham, Jacob Poole and Abrahan Fernandez.

AHS drone team is flying high

ASHEBORO — When Asheboro High School opened the renovated portion of its high school last summer to the public, by the front door was an encased area described as a drone soccer field.


Today, that field has been filled with a regional championship team vying for a national title.


On March 16, AHS took its drone soccer team to its first regional tournament, hosted by Virginia Tech at the Boeing Company’s campus in Arlington, Virginia. It left with the first-place trophy and a “Region IV champions” title, earning the team a spot in the US Drone Soccer National competition on April  26-27 in Springfield, Virginia.


Asheboro’s team was the only one entered from North Carolina. Other teams came from Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia.


Drone soccer is a sport that combines the thrill of drone flying with the excitement of soccer. In this innovative game, players use drones shaped like soccer balls to score goals against an opposing team. 


The team consists of five pilots each flying a drone. Each team also requires engineers and programmers to repair and configure drones with custom maneuvers between rounds as needed.


The designated striker drone is used to score goals while the additional drones are used to defend the team’s goal. Drone soccer is a fun and engaging way to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education and develop skills such as hand-eye coordination, problem-solving and teamwork.


As such, the team is coached by Wendy Graham, an AHS science teacher.


Drone soccer requires students to build their drones from the ground up. Drones must also be programmed and customized for maneuvers during gameplay. 


Once their drones were built and programmed, students began practicing hovering and moving with gentle landings. They then moved on to making goals and have been perfecting their skills in preparation for competition.


The Drone Soccer Team practices within a netted drone soccer arena, located in the newly constructed Walker Commons at Asheboro High School. This facility serves as the team’s training space and Asheboro City Schools plans to host future tournaments, showcasing the school’s commitment to innovative sports programs.