US Drone Soccer Season Kicks Off in New York

UTICA, NY – CNY Drones and SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) Student Club are pleased to announce a U.S. Drone Soccer Inaugural Season Kick-Off for New York and New Jersey on Saturday, September 24, 2022, at 10:00am.  The event will be live-streamed via Google Meeting from the SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) Marcy Campus to support teams and educators throughout the two State Region. Those closer to the Marcy/Utica Campus can attend in person by pre-registering with CNY Drones.

U.S. Drone Soccer is an indoor “build, program and fly” sport that allows students to learn the technical aspects of unmanned aviation systems while holding interest through a fast-paced team participation. The game of Drone Soccer is played with flying quadcopters in protective exoskeletons designed for collisions. Five-player teams fly inside a netted 10-foot by 20-foot arena where they ram and block the opposing team to prevent them from scoring.
Over a year of testing with students and teachers, a new drone was developed that could withstand the intensity of Drone Soccer and meet the needs of the modern engineering classroom. The resulting Drone Soccer Ball is affordable, durable, and easily repairable with simple tools. Open-source software allows students to rebuild and reprogram the drone for depth of learning.  Professional development training followed by access to a regional support network, helps educators and mentors find success with no prior experience.

“We know the exhaustive commitment of student robotics. We understand STEM educator burn-out and the need for something new. U.S. Drone Soccer offers a fresh approach, is reasonably priced, and related to regional technology growth. It’s a hands-on sports model that provides an entire team with the same build and flight experience. It also tackles two STEM program sustainability issues, the lack of connection to local technology and a regional support system. With U.S. Drone Soccer, educators are not only trained in drone building & game aspects, but supported by our centrally located technical hub,” says Lisa Marie Payne, CNY Drones Administrator & Co-Founder.

This year, Drone Soccer league play has expanded through a Nationwide roll-out. CNY Drones and SUNY AMA are hosting monthly Tech Meets in addition to the U.S. Drone Soccer Region II Championship on Sunday, March 26, 2023, at Wildcat Field House in Marcy. Interest from several neighboring States is anticipated. This year’s National Championship has also been claimed by the collaborative efforts of CNY Drones and SUNY Poly. Anticipate a soon-to-be-announced April 2023 date.

As Region II Affiliate, CNY Drones establishes the regional league play and offers support for schools, clubs and non-profits that wish to develop teams, leagues, and camps. Drone Soccer is growing in partnership with educational nonprofit organizations such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), who are providing pilot insurance and courses for students to complete The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) with the FAA.  U.S. Drone Soccer recently received designation as a Special Interest Group under the AMA.

The mission of U.S. Drone Soccer is to make aerospace careers accessible for all students. Drone Soccer is an educational e-sport that immerses students in aviation skills through classroom lessons and after school leagues for ages 12 to 18.  It is the only competitive student robotics program that is also a recognized international sport by the World Air Sports Federation (FAI).  National information and equipment  pricing for this emerging e-sport can be found at  New York and New Jersey team and league support is located on the CNY Drones information hub: Parents of interested students should encourage their local school district, BOCES or student club to get involved.


CNY Drones is a volunteer run, not-for-profit under the Griffiss Institute. Since 2006, CNY Drones has assisted dozens of schools, non-profits, student clubs and individuals interested in discovering drone technology as an AMA Model Aviation Student Club. Through interactive programs, CNY Drones sparks student interest in the regional drone technology education and employment pipeline. The majority of CNY Drones Planning Committee Members have technical and/or engineering backgrounds, have ties to SUNY Poly and are FAA Drone Pilot Certified.  For 2022, work with U.S. Drone Soccer is supported by the Air Force Research Lab in Rome, NY and the Technology Alliance of Central New York (TACNY).  SUNY Polytechnic Institute graciously supports CNY Drones’ mentorship and co-hosting of events with on-campus tech-based student clubs.

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