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The Fantastic Science of Soccer Fields

Thanks to FootballAnt analysis platform, today we're sharing all this amazing science about soccer fields, and we hope you like it!

When it comes to soccer, what passes through many people's minds is the scene of passion and sweat being splashed to the fullest. As the most influential sport in the world, it has the attributes of both athleticism and artistry, making fans go crazy for it. But this vibrant sport would be dwarfed by the loss of a professional soccer field. Therefore, although the field is not the "red flower" of soccer, it is an essential "green leaf." Especially in the professional soccer tournament, the professional soccer field breeds a soccer culture but is also irreplaceable.

Soccer stadiums also have an interesting history.

The original pitch

A long time ago, England's stadiums became muddy every fall, froze in the winter, and then were criticized in late spring for turning into cracked fields because of the heat. And all of this was bad for the health of the players, bad for passing the ball, and bad for commercial promotion.

In order to continue playing in the dead of winter, clubs would cover their pitches with thousands of bales of straw and use fireplaces to keep them warm, but neither of these methods worked very well. 

In the bitter cold of 1963, the town of Halifax gave up entirely and they turned Shea Stadium into a public ice rink. Everton was the first club to try to solve this problem when they installed electric heaters under the stadium in 1958.

Although the idea of heating was good, the melting ice release released so much water that it flooded the original drainage system of Goodison Park. The electric heaters and drains all had to be removed again, and everything had to start all over again. All this was expensive and few clubs could follow suit.

In the early seventies, Leicester City tried Polyspehre, with a huge polyethylene canopy placed over the pitch and heated by a fan heater. In the eighties, Queen's Parade, Luton Town, Oldham and Preston, among others, installed a second generation of artificial turf.

Modern Lawn

Compared to the original artificial natural turf developed in the United States in the 1960s, second-generation turfs were criticized for irregular bounce, excessive bounce, and skin burns, and they were banned by the Football League in 1995.

However, nearly three decades later, English soccer fields have changed. New money, and new horticultural techniques, driven by coaches' need for fast soccer and broadcasters' need for pristine grass, have ensured that Premier League pitches are flat and fast all year round. 

So, how do you create a perfect soccer pitch?

The most important starting point is to have a large amount of financial support. After that comes technical support.

Football field grassthe grass is an essential part of the football field

— Drainage

First, clear and level your site, and lay a permeable membrane and deep drainage pipe. Then, cover it with a free-draining substrate of sand and gravel and make sure it is level.

— Heating

Unlike the first generation of heating tubes, which were either on, off or all over the place, today's system can heat different parts of the court, reaching different temperatures at different times.

With heat sensors in the court, the system can turn up the temperature to stimulate grass growth in areas with more wear or lower temperatures or turn down the temperature in areas where the grass is growing faster. You may also want to add another set of pipes on top for automatic irrigation and automatic sprinklers.

— Substrate

Now cover your pipes and drains with a substrate of sand and gravel, topped with sandy clean soil, about 20 cm deep. Then make it absolutely flat and finally, you are ready to plant your grass.

— Turf

You can start planting your field inside the stadium, but it's best to leave this to the experts, companies that specialize in planting, cutting, and laying soccer field turf.

If the weather is cold, choose a hardy species such as perennial ryegrass or Kentucky bluegrass, and in hot areas choose bermudagrass, knotweed, or seaside spathiphyllum.

Perhaps experiment with new varieties that have been developed that are better adapted to shade, higher densities of row seedlings, or bred to recover more quickly after mowing and racing.

Wait 14 months for your turf to grow, cut, fold and deliver, then lay it down as fast as possible, leaving at least one meter beyond the goal line and sideline. Seal the gaps between the turf, roll them flat, water and let it settle.

Football field golasgoals

— Fixation

Even turf of such high quality can break under constant use. So, to make it more resilient, polyethylene fibers are woven into the turf and its base material by a set of electric sewing machines. Approximately 3% of the surface area of the pitch

About 2 million fibers are sent 20 cm below the pitch and then threaded back into place. The root system of the natural grass grows around them, anchoring them in the soil.

— Maintenance

Now that your stadium is laid out, you need to take care of it. Stadiums are enclosed spaces with slow air circulation and little wind, and both are bad for grass. It will become wilted and fall over. Therefore, you will need a very large set of fans blowing across your turf.

Slow growth due to light can also be a problem, especially in parts of the field that are shaded by the stadium roof and bleachers. Great lighting is your answer, as well as software that can change the intensity of light falling on the grass when the equipment is moved. Now your grass will grow well too, but moss, fungus, and lateral grass roots grow well too, so get rid of them with a loosener.

Add sand and fine soil particles to keep the turf enriched, and reseed worn areas when you need to, perhaps three times a season. Finally, keep the turf open to airflow and water by making small holes in the surface of the turf, both manually and mechanically.

— Mowing

The best thing now is that modern lawnmowers can be accurate to within a millimeter. UEFA states that the grass length of the pitch for its competitions should be 24-28 mm, but some coaches and clubs prefer a pitch with shorter grass for faster passing speeds.

Either way, don't mow the grass down all at once. If you do, it will weaken the turf and some of it will turn yellow. Therefore, use a large rotary mower to cut off 2mm each day and an old-fashioned walk-behind mower to cut the last 2mm on game day morning.

Also, choose your mowing pattern and keep it. Since one side of the blades of grass is shapeless and the other shiny, the direction in which they are mowed produces the different tones characteristic of a checkerboard-style pitch. Or like Leicester City in 2010, diagonals and squares, that's all.

UEFA and the Premier League have now become much stricter, allowing only horizontal and vertical stripes. Now add pitch markings, at least two layers, hang the goals and nets, and you're ready to play.

That's it for today, stay tuned to FootballAnt for more great soccer stats!

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