LEWISTON — During recess Wednesday, second-graders formed two lines for soccer instructions from Longley Elementary School interpreter Abdullahi Abdi.

“OK, what you do is pass to him,” Abdi said. “Then you go back. Line up; go that way.”

Students followed his instructions. “You can’t believe how interested they are in soccer,” Abdi said. “They love soccer.” He estimated 90 percent of Longley’s 350 students — the majority from Somali families — play soccer.

But the school’s field has dips and holes. There are no lines, no soccer posts or nets. “The field is not suitable,” said Abdi, who coaches soccer for older Lewiston students.

Longley supporters are hoping to change that by holding a first-ever yard sale from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 2, at the school.

Proceeds will be used to spruce up the playground “and whatever we can do for a soccer field,” said school secretary Cathy Pratt, who is organizing the sale with Assistant Principal Jana Mates.


Plans are to paint lines creating a “four squares” game, which is similar to hopscotch on the playground. To improve the soccer field, some grading, lines, nets are needed. And more balls are needed, Abdi said.

A new elementary school is planned to open in 2018 or 2019 for Martel and Longley students. “But it’s so far away,” Pratt said. “A lot of our students won’t see the benefits. Whatever we’re able to get, they’ll use year-round with summer programs.”

“Without a field, you can’t do anything,” Abdi said. A field is important to teach proficient passing and receiving skills. “I believe 10 years from now the United States will be one of the best teams in all of the world for soccer. We’re building a base.”

An improved playground and field would allow more students access to physical play.

 “It’s important they get out here and run and play,” Pratt said. “It helps them focus better in class.”

When she started doing spring cleaning, Mates proposed the yard sale.

“This is the time of year everybody is doing spring cleaning,” Pratt said. “We’re taking donations of anything gently used.”

Anyone interested in making donations to the sale may call Pratt at the school at 207-795-4120, or email her at cpratt@lewistonpublicschools.org.


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