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Sandy Journal

Real Salt Lake to help dedicate new futsal courts at Sandy Elementary

Oct 04, 2017 10:53AM ● By Jana Klopsch

New cement was poured to make a 40-by-40-foot futsal court at Sandy Elementary, thanks to a partnership between Real Salt Lake and Scheels. (Isa Connelly/Sandy Elementary)

Last spring, Real Salt Lake officials were looking at sites in the Sandy community to create futsal courts.

RSL Foundation Director and Director of Communications Mary Van Minde said they wanted an area that would be accessible to the community where all ages would gravitate.

“I was looking close to the stadium at the parks and what spaces were available because we wanted to give it to the community in appreciation of the support they’ve given us,” Van Minde said. 

One spot that caught her eye was the aged basketball court at Sandy Elementary.

“It was evident that the kids love soccer there as they were playing in the grass on a slope, but the basketball court wasn’t being used and the surface was crumbling,” she said.

After receiving the welcome permission from school officials, Real Salt Lake partnered with Scheels for the project. Recently, new cement was poured to make the 40-by-40-foot court, which, once cured, will then have an overlay court and permanent goals. A high fence around its perimeter was built to deter balls from going into the nearby street.

The cost, about $75,000, is a gift to the school, Van Minde said.

“We want this to be used all the time and know it will be great for Sandy kids,” she said.

Sandy Elementary Community Schools Facilitator Isa Connelly said the students were excited last spring when Real Salt Lake told them they would be starting the construction this past summer.

“They brought Leo (the RSL mascot) and so they’ve known it has been coming and have watched as the cement as it was being poured,” she said. “Soccer is huge here so already we’re planning to use it at recesses and for Playworks (structured recess program). It’s just an amazing gift.”

Van Minde said that in many parts of the world, grass fields are a premium, so futsal courts have become popular and often help with soccer players’ footwork.

A dedication ceremony, which will involve Sandy Elementary students coached by Real Salt Lake players, is in the process of being set up this fall.

Sandy Elementary is just one of several schools and parks Real Salt Lake has partnered with across Utah. Van Minde said there are similar partnerships that have resulted in courts in Centerville, Salt Lake City, Mapleton, Ogden, Cedar City and in Granite School District. As a result, more cities and school districts are approaching RSL for courts.

“We’re looking at ways we can strengthen our community and get them to become healthy,” she said.

In addition to donating futsal courts, Connelly said RSL has volunteered in the school to talk to the students about healthy eating, fitness and getting good grades, bringing signed balls for class and individual rewards and just playing soccer with the students.

“They’ve had a positive impact on our students and have gotten them excited about school and soccer. It’s been a great partnership and we’re so appreciative of the time and gifts they’ve provided Sandy Elementary students,” she said.