EM soccer title games should be played on artificial turf fields

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff
Posted Oct. 30, 2012, at 8:25 p.m.

We have a shortage of artificial turf fields that can be used for soccer.

The regional championship games for boys and girls soccer teams are played at the home field of the higher-seeded teams.

You can argue that the higher-seeded team has earned the right to host a regional title game based on their body of work over a 14-game regular season and two or three playoff games.

You would be right. They have earned it.

However, you will be hard-pressed to find a grass field that isn’t currently showing a significant amount of wear and tear after a long season.

Then you throw in the late-fall weather, which can include frost, ice, rain and snow, and you have championships being decided in a quagmire.

Just look at the current situation as the result of Hurricane Sandy.

There is no question that it takes an adjustment to play on artificial turf.

The bounces are different and the speed of the ball on the surface is different than you would find on grass.

It’s quicker, which favors the highly skilled teams.

But at least you are guaranteed a nice surface which will allow teams to play the game rather than plod through poor field conditions.

Regional championship games should be held on artificial turf fields.

The problem is we don’t have that many, especially in eastern Maine.

Then you have an issue with availability.

There are turf fields in Presque Isle, Hampden and Bangor (Husson University).

The Maine Principals’ Association should see if they could secure those sites for next fall’s eight Eastern Maine championship games (four boys, four girls).

Since there are no Class A teams north of Bangor, you wouldn’t send those schools to Presque Isle, but there are enough Aroostook County teams in Classes B, C and D to warrant the use of the Johnson Athletic Complex in Presque Isle if a County team is the higher seed.

There would have to be common-sense scheduling.

For example, you wouldn’t put a Camden Hills-Ellsworth Class B final in Presque Isle, but it would fit nicely in Bangor or Hampden.

Hopefully, there is another artificial turf field or two on the horizon in Eastern Maine.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/10/30/sports/em-soccer-title-games-should-be-played-on-artificial-turf-fields/ printed on December 20, 2014