ROWVILLE Sports Academy is continuing to establish itself as a breeding ground for elite athletes in the south-eastern suburbs.
Since its inception in 2008 the academy, part of Rowville Secondary College, has sought to create an environment that produces top-level athletes in basketball, soccer, netball and golf.
The 330 students enrolled in the program train four days a week during school time, combining schoolwork, tactical theory, physiotherapy and strength and conditioning.
RSA director Craig Jamieson said the academy was thriving and the school was looking forward to the introduction of Australian Rules football and volleyball to the 2013 curriculum.
"We've already had significant interest in next year's program," Jamieson said.
"First and foremost, our elite coaches look for kids who meet the level to make the academy, and then look at their attitude to learning. We still view the academic program as most important."
The sports academy has bucked a trend that sees most elite-level coaching undertaken at private schools.
"Our program is very different. Private schools run their training sessions after school hours while we incorporate the program into the school day.
"Students have 30 periods in a week, 10 of which are spent with the sports academy."
Jamieson said the basketball and soccer programs had been especially successful at producing elite-level athletes.
"One of our former soccer students Peter Skapedis has recently signed at [English Premier League side] Queens Park Rangers and about eight of our basketball girls have received scholarships in the US."
Jamieson said the academy had a range of coaches on board.
"Most of our coaches are very experienced. However, we have a great balance with
younger coaches who are competing at the highest level."
Trials for the 2013 academy start this Friday.