OVERLAND PARK, Kansas - Scheels Overland Park Soccer Complex, one of the country’s top amateur soccer facilities, will replace their old playing surfaces with 12 new Shaw Sports Turf’s Legion Pro system over the next two years.
The facility, which opened in 2009, currently has 12 synthetic turf playing surfaces.
These fields accommodate 2,000 games per field, per year, with each game lasting approximately 1.5 hours. Games and tournaments at the facility draw over one million visitors per year.
Over 20 soccer clubs and organizations use the fields for practice and games and the fields host 18-22 tournaments per year.
“The ability to withstand the amount of play we have was an important consideration,” said Mike Laplante, Manager of Soccer Park Operations. “We’ve been speaking with Nate Henderson from Shaw Sports Turf for over two years and they provided us with quality alternatives to consider.“
At the end of an exhaustive search process, Overland Park selected the Legion Pro system, which met the performance characteristics and durability that the complex sought in a new system.
The Legion Pro system is a combination of high-performance monofilament fibers and a durable slit film fiber. The slit film fiber is a workhorse that will handle the workload, while the monofilament provides a more resilient surface that enhances performance characteristics.
The monofilament fiber is Shaw Sports Turf’s innovative Bolt fiber. Bolt is a stronger, more resilient monofilament fiber, featuring a lightning bolt shape which creates a stronger vertical axis that causes fibers to stand upright for less breakdown and increased durability. Bolt is specifically built for performance and to reflect light for a lower luster and more natural looking field.
“Heat was another major consideration for us,” said Laplante. “Fields can get very hot during the summer months when we have a lot of play. We chose Shaw Sports Turf’s HydroChill technology to allow us to face the challenges that come with heat.”
When athletes sweat, evaporative cooling takes place when evaporation of moisture from the skin’s surface has a cooling effect. HydroChill works on the same principle. As the turf surface is heated by solar radiation, moisture stored in the turf is released, leaving a cooler, more comfortable surface for athletes.
The technology is applied to a field where components react and form a coating on the infill. The field is watered to activate HydroChill and then energy from sunlight drives out water, removing heat from the surface. The cooling effect of HydroChill after watering can last two to three days. Watering alone can result in some short-term cooling, but a flash-effect means temperatures can rise and quickly exceed uncomfortable levels of heat.
HydroChill creates a substantial and sustained temperature difference. HydroChill provides maximum benefit when the sun is nearest the Earth. During the summer months the sun is positioned overhead, causing surfaces to absorb more energy, resulting in hotter temperatures. Temperature differences of 50 degrees have been seen on an outdoor field. Studies have shown that temperature differences of over 30 degrees provide a noticeable increase in the comfort level of athletes.
The research behind HydroChill was extensive and was conducted for three years, both in laboratory tests and in real-world field applications currently in use by athletes. Shaw Sports Turf’s testing facilities include an entire lab dedicated to the study of heat on turf. It houses a custom-built solar simulator with a watering mechanism that simulates rainfall so testing can be conducted on a year-round basis. Tests on a variety of outdoor surfaces were conducted with thermocouples, an Infrared thermometer and by a certified thermographer with a Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) camera.
Six of the fields will be installed in 2017, while the remaining six will be installed in 2018.
In addition to the Shaw Sports Turf fields, the facility has everything to make a great sports destination.
The park has meeting space, a tournament storage area, referee lounges and player locker rooms, a permanent first aid office, three cafes, ample parking, basketball and tennis courts, and multiple playgrounds. Additionally, the immediate area around the park has 35 hotels and 200 restaurants and other local attractions.
Over 35 million kids play a sport in the United States. Of that, 21 million are involved in non-school youth sports. The youth sports travel industry, which wasn’t even a measured category that long ago, is now over $7 billion per year. And being a sports destination is a major factor in the facility’s success.
In fact, the complex has already hosted several youth soccer national championship tournaments and will host the 2019-2020 US Youth Soccer National Championships.
“The Scheels Overland Park Soccer Complex has a proven track record of being a great soccer facility,” said Nate Henderson, Territory Manager for Shaw Sports Turf. “Athletes love playing here and their parents love visiting the area. We are proud that they have selected Shaw Sports Turf to allow them to continue to operate as a premier sports facility and destination.”