School for boys combining academics and football in Pearland next year

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Yahya Hussein knows what he wants and, at only 10 years old, he is already working to achieve it. Student this year during the first trimester of Nexus Futbol Academy, the footballer spends his days like his peers, working on reading, writing and arithmetic. But Yahya’s day comes with a twist, including time on the soccer field and in the gym to perfect his game.

This school-sports model is the basis of Nexus, an academic institution for boys in grades 4 to 8 formed in 2021 by Ibrahim Firat and Henry Costas to provide aspiring professional footballers with high-level sports education and training during the primary school years. . Both have ties to the Houston Dynamo team and affiliate team Houston Dynamo Academywhich is aimed at high school students who wish to pursue a professional career in football.

Firat from the personalized student advice service Firat Education oversees the educational aspect of Nexus. Costas of Heart and Sole Futsal Academy uses its football expertise to train students.

Tuition is $15,000, and scholarships and financial aid are available.

A resident of Katy, Yahya travels daily to the school’s temporary location in Spring Branch and plans to travel to Pearland next year when the school moves into permanent space at 2045 Reflection Bay. But despite the long drive and the sporting and academic challenges of school, the youngster said he was happy for the opportunity.

“It’s a wonderful school, and you play football half the day,” he said, adding quickly, “Academics are good too.”

One of six boys enrolled this year, Yahya said the group was close and had fun together.

“We’re all friends, and we all laugh and play with each other,” he said.

Firat said that kind of camaraderie between the boys is important. At least four more varsity athletes are expected to be registered next year across the region.

Nexus students must pass an entrance exam to earn their place.

They spend 19 hours a week in class on academic work, including math, science, foreign languages, social studies and reading. Time is spent doing field trips and volunteering as well.

Of course, football practice plays an important role in the school day, as does physical and mental conditioning, stretching and injury prevention, as well as a focus on nutrition, to prepare boys for training. specific to the football that likely awaits them. to a specialized high school and hopefully a career in sports.

The school has eight members of staff, including traditional teachers, a nutrition coach and an instructor with a doctorate in psychology who takes care of the mental training of the boys.

Firat said his and Costas’ goal was to create a balance for these boys that they might not be able to achieve through traditional teaching.

“I often see kids scattered and overloaded with practice after school while trying to juggle schoolwork, homework and studying while just trying to be a kid,” he said. “We wanted to change the game and offer a balanced model and a tailor-made approach.”

If you ask parent Mike Rusaw, he’ll tell you they made it.

Recently transplanted to Houston from Dallas, he moved south so his 9-year-old son Harrison Rusaw could attend Nexus.

“I’m super impressed with both the educational and athletic side of the school,” Rusaw said.

He’s so convinced of what Nexus can help his son accomplish that he plans to move his wife and other child to Houston to join them and Harrison in the coming months. He said that initially only he and Harrison moved to Bayou Town to see how the new school would operate.

What impressed him the most, he said, was how the school differs from other institutions, which typically provide tutoring instructors who supervise students online rather than providing in-person instruction. in a physical classroom.

“At Nexus, they really teach them,” Rusaw said. “Harrison has already read two books and written a poem.”

He compared the Nexus approach to how aspiring footballers in Europe and South America are prepared and trained.

As far as Firat is concerned, the two school elements – education and training – complement each other, giving boys the opportunity to expend energy throughout the day, which he says only helps to their school performance.

“Nexus academics are tougher than what you would see in most public and private schools, and the movement the boys get throughout the day has a huge impact which is reflected in their grades,” Firat said. .

Rusaw said it was this environment that convinced him to uproot his family.

“We made the decision to move Harrison (from Dallas to Houston) based on the success he can have here,” he said. “It’s part of the long-term strategy for him.”

For more information, visit www.nexusfutbol.com. The school’s Facebook site is at https://fbook.cc/3qrk.

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