A soccer player’s history
PV history teacher has had a passion for soccer since childhood
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(Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a multi-part series examining interesting stories about PV teachers from outside of the classroom. Whether it is an unusual hobby, a prior job, or a specific interest, PV teachers have much to tell. Apparently, teachers have lives outside Pascack Valley. Who Knew!)
When Leah Jerome was in second grade, she played her first travel soccer game. 25 years later, she is still playing.
Jerome has been a history teacher for eight years and currently teaches freshmen, juniors, and seniors.
Jerome is currently a coach of a women’s league outside of Pascack Valley on Sunday nights. She was number 23 on the team.
The competition, energy, and team camaraderie drew Jerome to the sport. Her older sister played soccer and showed Jerome the meaning behind “heart and hustle.”
When attending Glen Rock High School, Jerome set the record for goals scored as a forward.
In the course of her high school career, Jerome had a total of 115 goals and 78 assists. Her sister was a sweeper and they had an All-American goalie.
Jerome still acknowledges the great support system around her and hopes her teammates do too.
“There are 22 people on the field,” Jerome said. “I hope those who played with me remember me as a good teammate and somebody who respected and loved the game.”
She attributes all of her success to the rest of the team playing beside her.
“Any personal accolade received along the way was a reflection of a much stronger team than one individual,” she said.
After high school, Jerome continued her soccer career at Fordham University.
As captain of the women’s soccer team her senior year, she led the team to a state championship. She played the position of outside midfielder and was named a recipient of the 2007 Atlantic 10 Sporting Award, only the third Fordham student to receive the award.
In her last group final game at Fordham, the team lost 2-1 because they ran out of time. She still believes that if they had a couple more minutes, the team would have won. Despite this loss, Jerome and her team still became state champions.
“When I was senior captain at Fordham, my team had the best record and went the farthest the team has ever gotten,” said Jerome. “We were 14-7.”
Over her career, Jerome scored 22 goals and had 11 assists throughout 77 games.
“Any forward has great memories about goals they’ve scored, but any forward also understands that there’s a whole team behind them,” she said.
As a student at Fordham, Jerome took part in the Global Aids campaign and volunteered at different organizations.
Outside of her soccer career, Jerome has always had a passion and interest for history that her parents fostered while growing up.
Jerome and her parents used to watch the news, historical and educational films, documentaries, and presidential speeches. Her first memory is of the 1988 election when she was walking to the polls as a child. Additionally, she fully remembers writing a report about Eleanor Roosevelt in second grade and visiting Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts.
Her grandfather was a World War II veteran and she grew up listening to his memories and experiences, which led to a deep respect for the stories of veterans.
Jerome has always loved the high school environment. She said that the youth keeps her young, interested, and curious.
Jerome enjoys going to work every day and teaching approximately 115 students. She loves sharing an interest in history with her students, seeing them grow and develop, and helping them along the way.
“As a teacher, it is my job to have the answers and to point the students in the correct direction,” Jerome said.
Jerome believes she is a good fit as a teacher, as she can relate to the students.
“The minute you think you know it all, you’ve lost sight of reality,” she said.
Jerome hopes to have a long career at PV.
Jerome loves to travel and has visited a total of 21 countries.
“The more I travel, the more things I want to see in the world,” she said.
For each trip, she visited a different place with different people. Jerome took several trips to Europe, both with her family and for soccer, and went to Morocco with her cousin. She currently travels around the world with her students.
Going to Peru with her AP World History class last year inspired her to do more physical trips that test her limits, whether they are on foot or bike, and on a flat course or up a mountain.
Jerome enjoys traveling with her students and learning new information with them. Everywhere they visit has an historical aspect.
Jerome and the students experience new things at the same time with each other, which brings a new dynamic of a global classroom.
“Soccer, history, and teaching. Those are my real passions,” Jerome said. “Travelling is a wonderful hobby, but there is no place like home.”