Two outdated tennis courts on the campus of Granger Elementary received a claret and cobalt facelift this summer.
With the help of Real Salt Lake, the overgrown courts were transformed into miniaturized soccer pitches that can be more fully used by Granger students and their families.
The project is the result of a partnership between Major League Soccer, adidas, Southern New Hampshire University, and the U.S. Soccer Federation to build 20 mini-pitches in conjunction with twenty MLS teams across the country. The courts are intended to offer children a safe place to play increasingly popular game.
About 45 Granger Elementary students joined parents, Granger staff, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen, and other special guests for an unveiling ceremony of the mini pitch in July. RSL players Justen Glad and Jordan Allen spent the evening playing pick-up games with the kids.
Granger Elementary principal Amber Clayton was proud of the efforts of various organizations and individuals that helped make the mini pitch possible.
“We have 980 students in K-6, and seven preschools at Granger, and I can’t imagine the faces when they come back and see this beautiful facility that will be with us for years,” she said.
Granger Elementary was built on the site of a former park in West Valley City. The tennis courts were leftover from the park, and remained mostly unused since the school was rebuilt in 2008.
The mini pitch now acts as a resource for both the school and the community. Granger enjoys additional physical fitness space, and kids in the area will have access to the U.S. Soccer Federation’s after school program and training camps.
Additionally, the pitch is meant to encourage unstructured play and promote healthy lifestyles for kids.
“All of our kids need a safe place to play, and a chance to play on their own terms,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. “The freedom to play leads to ability, confidence, and a desire to be physically active for life.”
An additional surprise at the unveiling of the mini-pitch came when Southern New Hampshire University awarded a full scholarship to Granger Elementary paraeducator Brett Thomas.