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The City Journals

Terra Linda Elementary scores partnership with local soccer club

Dec 03, 2018 03:32PM ● By Jet Burnham

Matt Brown and Ahmed Bakrim welcome neighboring elementary students into their soccer facility during an evacuation drill. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Principal Karen Gorringe has neighbors she can count on. She has worked to develop beneficial relationships with the businesses neighboring Terra Linda Elementary.

“We work hard to build strong relationships with people—that’s so important to be good community members,” said Gorringe. “Community support is vital. You can’t run a good school without having a good community supporting it—you just can’t.”

Gorringe depends on nearby business owners for their buildings to be a safe haven for students if immediate cover is necessary in an emergency situation.

7 Elite Academy, a club in the Utah Youth Soccer Association, has offered its nearby indoor soccer facility as an evacuation site for the 600 students and faculty members.

“If for any reason they need to evacuate their school, our facility will serve as their meeting place and shelter,” said Julia Howard, community liaison for the indoor soccer league.

While the building is busy with practices and games in late afternoon and evening, the indoor fields are unused during school hours.

Terra Linda students recently practiced an evacuation, walking the short distance to the academy where they spread out in the 20,000-square-footspace. Howard said the facility is an ideal location to house students since it is heated and has bathrooms and water fountains.

“We built it for soccer purposes, but we felt like it could be bigger and better than just soccer,” said Howard. “This is about helping the community and giving back.”

In addition to providing a safe space, 7 Elite Academy also visits Terra Linda regularly to teach a soccer training curriculum. Its workshops, which usually replace PE classes, teach basic soccer skills to students in grades kindergarten–6.

Matt Brown, schools program manager and coach for the club, said its goal is to introduce soccer to all kids, especially those who have not had exposure to organized sports because of limited finances or opportunities. Through the outreach program, students learn about the international sport and gain proficiency in the basic skills of the game.

“We’ll just tailor what we’re delivering to the kids as to their level,” said Brown.

Kindergarteners begin with exercises to get used to having a ball at their feet and expand their skill set each year until they are playing competitive games in sixth grade.

Brown said sports training teaches life skills—working as a team, sportsmanship, having drive, problem-solving and dealing with defeat. 

“All things come along with sports that are important life skills all young individuals need to learn,” said Brown. “Soccer just provides a fun way to teach them.”

7 Elite Academy currently provides nine local schools with the in-school soccer skills program. Brown hopes to form lasting relationships with many schools like they have at Terra Linda, now in its second year of the curriculum.

“Terra Linda is just right there, so that bond, that relationship, just formed and strengthened and evolved into this,” said Howard.

Howard said 7 Elite Academy’s partnership with Terra Linda is an example to the rest of the community of how businesses can make a difference in local schools.

“There’s no money involved; it’s just a partnership to benefit the children of West Jordan,” said Howard.

With its international connections, the academy arranged for English Premier League player James Milner, vice captain of Liverpool FC, to speak to Terra Linda students at a surprise assembly.

The school’s theme for the week was grit and determination. Milner shared with students what he has done to get through hard times in his life and career.

Terra Linda partners with other local resources to provide inspiring assemblies.

“We want our student to have good community role models,” said Gorringe.

She invites teenagers from the Peer Leadership Team at West Jordan High School to present positive assemblies to her students.

Salt Lake Community College’s Know Greater Heroes program provides students with successful role models as student-athletes share positive messages about education, active lifestyle and healthy eating in a fun and engaging assembly.

Additionally, Gorringe arranges for local businesses to partner with the school to provide school activities such as the annual Math Night, which was held Nov. 15.