‘Synthetic turf is a world solution’
In the coming season twelve clubs in the Jupiler League will play their home matches on synthetic turf, ten of these on a synthetic turf system from GreenFields. Six clubs in the premier league also have synthetic turf, five with a synthetic turf system from GreenFields. Two of these fields are in Rotterdam: at SBV Excelsior and Sparta.
SBV Excelsior is already familiar with playing on synthetic turf at home as there has been synthetic turf in the Woudestein Stadium since 2010. ‘We have now opted for a new turf surface,’ explained the general director Ferry de Haan earlier to RTV Rijnmond. ‘It will be a faster field, without the black rubber granules that you saw flying up every time.’ The choice fell on GreenFields® MX Trimension. It has been approved according to the FIFA 2 Star standard. The infill consists of green coated granules of synthetic rubber (SBR). As the grass yarns are packed closely together, less infill is necessary.
The kick-off on Saturday 28 June introduced players and trainer Marinus Dijkhuizen of Excelsior to the GreenFields® MX Trimension system (picture). They are well pleased with the attractiveness, evenness and natural appearance of the surface. The colours are brighter and the (sprayed) white line markings look fresher than before. That Saturday general director Ferry de Haan, head of communication Vincent Wernke and mascot Woutje praised the new playing field in similar terms.
Not only do the first team and the youth teams train and play on the field, but social activities also take place. ‘There is something to do nearly every day,’ says Vincent Wernke. And just as in the Polman Stadium in Almelo, towards the end of a match the youngsters are already dreaming of kicking a ball around on the field come the final whistle.
Ferry de Haan (general director SBV Excelsior) and Miranda Laseroms (GreenFields)
Talks about replacing the existing synthetic field in Woudestein Stadium began even before promotion to the top division was an fact. ‘Nothing beats a perfect natural grass surface, but where can you find one of those nowadays?’ says general manager Ferry de Haan. ‘We are a progressive club that’s keen to develop talent. We got talking to one another through the tender. The advance of synthetic grass is a good development. The conditions are always the same for everyone. We want to go along with this and contribute to the development.’
This fits in with the vision and way of working of the supplier GreenFields: listening to the experiences and wishes of players and on this basis continuing to develop. Miranda Laseroms is sales manager at GreenFields and is also involved in the sale of CED projects. She knows that not every coach and player immediately goes for synthetic grass. ‘That’s why we also attach great importance to the changes experienced by sportsmen and women when they play on synthetic turf. What does our synthetic turf mean for the game and the techniques? How can we improve our products even further?’ Both Ferry de Haan and Miranda Laseroms know that a generation of footballers is growing up that is comfortable with synthetic turf. ‘In fact the youth only want synthetic turf,’ according to the general manager. ‘A club such as Ajax takes a critical view, but does like polished football – and synthetic turf is ideal for this. It’s a world solution.’
For the Spartans synthetic turf is something new. They have a GreenFields® MX Trimension system with infill composed of sand, green coated SBR and cork. The choice of the lords of the Castle was motivated by savings. As teams can always train and play on synthetic turf, it is more advantageous than natural grass. The grass surface of the Castle was used only 75 hours a year, whereas the synthetic turf field can be used 1500 hours. The youth teams, as well as part of the youth training, are going to make use of it as well. ‘Maintenance costs will decrease significantly,’ explains director Manfred Laros. ‘In total cost savings of nearly two million euros can be realized over five years.’ This is not to say the first division club is a definite convert. The state of the field and the experiences will be gradually evaluated throughout the coming season.