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The City Journals

Smith’s Helps Refurbish Murray Max Soccer Field

Oct 31, 2016 01:48PM ● By Sarah Almond

Young players from the Murray Max Soccer Club gather at Willow Pond Park on October 1 for a ribbon cutting to celebrate the newly upgraded field. Lee Davis, the technical director of Murray Max, hopes that the equipment and tools donated by Smith’s Food and Drug will enable children to enjoy quality soccer for years to come. (Michelle Schafer/ Parent of Murray Max Player)

By Sarah Almond | [email protected]

Murray, Utah - On October 1, players and supporters of Murray Max Soccer Club gathered at Willow Pond Park for a dedication ceremony to celebrate the refurbished soccer field. In collaboration with its parent vendor, Mondelez International, Smith’s Food and Drug Stores supported Utah Youth Soccer through grant funding for new equipment. 

“This was an enterprise of our parent company, the Kroger Company division,” said Marsha Gilford, vice president of Smith’s Public Affairs. “They elected to find 20 different soccer fields across the country, and the reason they did 20 was because there are 20 divisions within the Kroger Company.” 

After a third-party company completed research and reviews, each Kroger division then partnered with a soccer field. 

“Because Salt Lake is our home base, we opted to go here,” Gilford said. “We made a decision to go with the Murray team and the Utah Utes Soccer program. It’s been a little gesture to help bring that soccer field up to a level that maybe they haven’t had for a while because of lack of funds. So it was just a nice refresh on their field.” 

Smith’s contributions enabled the field to be upgraded with two new, full-size goals with nets, four new corner flags, two 21-inch-long benches, field lining and striping paint. 

“These upgrades create more opportunities for kids to play and play for longer,” said Lee Davis, Murray Max technical director. “Typically a set of goals, with weather and usage and time, they get beaten up and sometimes we have to go out and raise money for the club. But this is a huge help in terms of being able to provide us with goals without us having to worry about finding the money to replace them.” 

As part of the Utah Youth Soccer Association (UYSA) Murray Max Soccer Club was created to engage children seven through 19 in the sport of soccer. 

“We are a community-based soccer club for youth in Murray,” Davis said. “Our mission is to afford the youth of the community the opportunity to play competitive soccer.” 

There are currently more than 450 Murray youth who play in the club, many of whom started at a young age. 

“Soccer is such a wonderful team sport that young boys and young girls can play from the time they are young all the way up through their adult lives,” Gilford said. “Keeping kids healthy and active is important to us. We really support good nutrition and having activity, so this was a great opportunity to support a program that encourages children to run, and get exercise, and be part of a team.”

Bringing help and hope to the communities they serve has been a cornerstone value of the Kroger Company for decades. By giving back to the community members that support them, businesses like Smith’s are able to help cultivate a supportive and neighborly culture.

“This particular gesture was in celebration of our Murray store remodel,” Gilford said. “We just made almost a two-million-dollar investment in remodeling that store, and so when we do remodel a store and do a grand reopening, we like to be able to give some gifts to the community that will be local. This was a perfect opportunity to celebrate the community in that way in conjunction with our store reopening.”