As high school students across Wisconsin were preparing to head back to school last week, Wind Lake's Luka Prpa was on a plane headed to Florida for the next step in his education – on and off the soccer field.
Prpa was one of 29 players named to the U.S. Under-17 Residency Program for the 2014 fall semester, and one of nine new players in the program.
He and his teammates will live in Bradenton, Fla., and train each morning at the IMG Academy facilities under the direction of Under-17 national team coach Richie Williams and his staff. In the afternoon, the players will attend classes at nearby St. Stephen’s Episcopal School.
Prpa played for Muskego High School in 2012, then played with Chicago Magic PSG in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy during the 2013-14 season. The midfielder, who previously played with North Shore United, scored 14 goals as the side finished third in the Under-15/16 competition.
He's just the fourth Wisconsin player to be part of the Residency Program since it started in 1999, following Waukesha defender Tim Ward (2002 to '04), Middleton goalkeeper Josh Lambo (2005 to '07) and Milwaukee defender Brice Carr (2007).
More than 100 of the 400-plus players who have been part of the program have gone on to play professional soccer.