Madrid-Waddington’s drone soccer team readies for national championship

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 3:24 PM EDT
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MADRID, New York (WWNY) - What’s the buzz at Madrid-Waddington Central School? The drone soccer team’s recent regional win on Saturday. Now the team is practicing for a national championship.

Back in August, if you asked the students what drone soccer is, most would likely scratch their heads.

“I had to do research on it because when I heard drone soccer, my reaction was, ‘Oh, we’re playing with drones outside and playing soccer.’ That was not it,” said Phebe Grandy, drone soccer goalie.

What once was a mystery is now mastered by the school’s drone soccer team, fresh off a regional win in Utica over the weekend.

“I had no expectations whatsoever of us winning at all. I thought I was just coming there for a good time and then we got to, like, the third game and we were winning and I was, like, wow,” said Tyree Hawkins, drone soccer sweeper.

Now, pilots are preparing for the U.S. Drone Soccer National Championship in April.

The team’s coach is proud of how far her players have gone this year.

“It’s absolutely amazing. This group of kids is incredible. The amount of information they’ve learned about aviation is incredible. They fix their drones, they build them, they help each other program them. We couldn’t be prouder of them,” said Michelle Burke, coach.

And the team’s confidence going into the national competition is sky-high.

“Yes, we shall kick butt,” said Ted Schultz, assistant coach.

The national completion puts the team back in Utica on April 16.