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Colorado students from Westminster compete in academic drone soccer world cup

Westminster students in Colorado to compete in academic drone soccer world cup
Westminster students in Colorado to compete in academic drone soccer world cup 02:19

Westminster High School Senior Helen Tran says this sport has become a passion for her over the last four years.

"A lot of people don't know when I say, 'I play drone soccer.' They're like, 'You play girls' soccer,'" she said. "It's kind of like quidditch in a way."


Tran is a defender for her school's drone soccer team, a game made popular in South Korea, but it was brought to the Westminster school district in 2020 during the pandemic.  

"You really learn how to communicate with your team, especially with the loud drones buzzing around," said Tran. "It's five drones on each side, one is a striker and it flies through the hoop on the opposing side to earn points and the other four are basically defenders."

"It's a great way to get kids excited about everything to do with engineering and computer science and aviation," said Robert Ferguson, CTE Aviation Engineering Teacher for Westminster High School.

Since drone soccer started in the district, teams like Tran's have competed in several events.

"We competed in South Korea last year, so we were able to take third place in the world, although we beat the second-place team," said Ferguson.

Drone soccer CBS

However, this year, the team is taking on a unique opportunity and combining middle, high school, and collegiate-level students into one team to compete in the first-ever Academic World Cup in San Diego.

"Six students and two college students," said Tran.

It's a competition that's been months of preparation for the combined team, including building the drones they will use to compete with and programming them with code.

"If you think of a Lego set, it comes with all the parts, and you kind of just go ham on it," said Tran. "You kind of work with your team to figure out how to build these.

However, these players are hoping to build more than just their chances at winning. They are also hoping to give this sport a bigger boost in attention.

"I'm definitely really excited because it feels like it's definitely made a bigger face towards the U.S.," said Tran.

For Tran, playing drone soccer has also given the lifelong skills she can take into any career in the future.

 Westminster High School Senior Helen Tran  CBS

"Being concise and clear, and getting things done, building things, problem-solving," said Tran. "Especially for women, since we are the minority in the aviation field, I think it's really significant that I'm in it."

The drone soccer competition begins on Tuesday, April 23 with Semifinals and Finals being livestreamed on Wednesday, April 24. For more information on the event, click here.

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