Taneon Rood



I was inspired to write about Zions Bank Real Academy because of the soccer culture that surrounds Utah. I wanted people to read my article, and be able to open their minds more than they have before and really see how much soccer means to Utah. 

I was born and raised in Utah, and I was on a few youth soccer teams when I was younger. That was one of the key elements that also inspired me to write this story. 

Dell Loy Hansen, the owner of Real Salt Lake, spent over $60 million on soccer facilities to ensure that Utah could become one of the greatest places in the country to develop soccer talent for the future. It’s been in Herriman, Utah, for less than two years, yet I still don’t see enough people giving it acknowledgment.  

The writing process for my piece was extremely simple since I follow Real Salt Lake heavily already. I already had an idea for what I wanted to tell my readers, I just needed the sources to help add credibility and accuracy to what I said in the article. 

I emailed Taran Meyer, senior manager of communications for Real Salt Lake, and he helped me find the other two people I interviewed for my article. 

Academy Goalkeeper Coach Mirza Harambasic and Zions Bank Real Academy President Jacob Haueter were the other two people I chose to interview. I feel like I did a very good job at finding credible people to interview for this article. My second option that I had in mind if I couldn’t find three people who worked or were associated with the academy was to ask somebody from a Real Salt Lake supporters group about how they felt about the soccer academy. However, this unfortunately never ended up being implemented into my story, but could’ve been useful since it gave a point of view from a fan. 

I encountered zero obstacles when putting my article together and I credit this a lot to the people I was interviewing. They cooperated very nicely and made the experience have no stress whatsoever. Gaining access to the facilities to take photos for my article came easy since they gave me a tour around the facilities. 

There is definitely a lot of information that I gave to the reader in my article, and it might be really confusing at first. However, my goal was to help everybody understand what the soccer academy does and what its purpose is. I feel like I truly did my best when it came to explaining everything. I admit that I covered a lot of themes but this is because I wanted people to fully be informed. 

I had recorded over 22 minutes of interview audio, and it was really difficult for me at first to choose what quotes I would use. But after time passed and I gave things more thought, I eventually found what quotes deserved to be in my article over others. 

What surprised me was how successful my article ended up being. I don’t mean this in a bad way, either. I just thought that it would be much more difficult to get people to interview when it comes to covering a story on professional sports. I definitely feel like I was very fortunate in this aspect of my experience, and the fact that I’m a diehard soccer fan made it even better. 

I personally hope that the Zions Bank Real Academy continues to develop the best soccer talent in North America and that one day there will be more people who will give the academy the credit it rightfully deserves. The academy is definitely taking the right procedures to become one of the best going forward. 


Taneon Steven Rood is an aspiring young writer, looking to make a significant impact on how we view soccer in the United States through his storytelling. He was born and raised in Salt Lake City and grew up playing soccer and basketball. His interest in writing grew when he would stay up late at night and write poetry and diaries based on how he was feeling during his high school years.

TaneonRoodHe enjoys traveling to other countries around the world as a form of leisure and his favorite place to go is Mexico. Taneon has been learning the Spanish language since he was 6 years old and has been practicing the language ever since, although he says he isn’t fluent yet. In 2015, Taneon became an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.

After becoming the youngest person to graduate from Salt Lake Community College in 2019 at the age of 17, Taneon decided to transfer to the University of Utah for his bachelor’s degree.  In the summer of 2019, Taneon did a one-month internship with the Harvard Business School start up company called Zubale in Mexico City. One day he wants to open youth soccer leagues for children in communities that are underdeveloped around the world.