Now that we’ve gotten some of the technical stuff out of the way, it’s also important to stress the necessity of maintenance when building a soccer field, whether you invest in natural turf grass or artificial turf. On a smooth and well-maintained pitch, soccer has a graceful quality, even in the middle of a tough game. However, when the field goes bad, the whole game goes bad. If you choose artificial turf, your maintenance needs will be a bit different.
Since natural turf for soccer fields requires specialty maintenance, make sure you have a plan surrounding the following items:
Mowing: Determining the correct mowing height must be balanced with the amount of use the pitch receives, climatic conditions, turfgrass species, and the overall maintenance program.
Seeding, Sprigging, Plugging, and/or Sodding: Goalmouth areas need to have grass cover to cushion falls, protect the plant, stabilize the soil surface, and provide a truer roll and bounce of the soccer ball. Grass cover and recovery can be achieved and/or accelerated with seed, sprigs, plugs, and/or sod.
Aeration: Soil aeration is one of the most important practices, and often the most under-utilized tool maintenance. Aeration corrects or alleviates soil compaction common to high traffic areas. High traffic areas may require soil aeration 8 or more times per year, including during the playing season.
Topdressing: Topdressing is important to maintain a level surface for true ball roll, maintain firmness and stability, maintain drainage characteristics, dilute, reduce thatch and fill aeration holes.
Irrigation: Proper irrigation is essential for plant health, combating drought, balancing the air/water exchange in the soil, and delivering nutrients to the plant.
Fertilization: Vigorous turfgrass growth is detrimental to the goal mouth area on soccer pitches. Be sure to take frequently test your soil and tissue to address deficiencies in your fertility program.
To assist with the soccer pitch layout, the following diagram provides measurements. The pitch dimensions found optimal by FIFA are 100-110 m (100-120 yards) long by 64-75 m (55-75 yards) wide. The pitch can be between 90-120 m (98-130 yards) long and 45-95 m (50-104 yards) wide for other events. It is recommended to have a free area behind the goal of 8.5 m (10 yards) and next to the sidelines of 10 m (11 yards).