Every athlete knows that his or her sport is more than just a series of wins or losses. It’s an expression of hard work, tenacity and belief. What it means to the athlete personally cannot be measured in time or points.

Recently, students at King, Sarah J. Anderson, Washington and Harney elementary schools, in addition to Fruit Valley Community Learning Center and two Evergreen public schools, got opportunities to discover more about themselves and their abilities in competition, in school and in life.

Two soccer tournaments allowed them to hone their skills for free while developing friendships among students and camaraderie among parents. Coaches, who work at their respective schools, stressed the importance of showing up, trying hard and getting along with others.

As a result of this approach, all students gained wins.

“It has improved students’ attendance, academics and behavior, as well as introduced them to a team environment. The program has led to building a stronger community; better relationships with families; and the foundation for continuing, positive partnerships with community organizations,” said Vancouver Public Schools Student Advocate/Attendance Specialist Anthony Kay.

Those partnerships include the Police Activities League, which handles much of the coordination; Clark County Public Health; parent-teacher organizations; local soccer clubs; and other organizations.

Another partnership, between the Fruit Valley Foundation and NUstar Energy, will allow 25 or more Fruit Valley students to participate in the Clark College soccer camp this summer and mini-camps in the fall, thanks to a donation from NUstar.

With luck, additional schools will be able to participate in these soccer tournaments next school year.

It’s another chance to achieve goals of all kinds.