As an alumnus of MVRHS, and having played four years of soccer on the current grass fields at the high school, I am ecstatic to hear about the continued progress of the phase one plan to create a turf playing surface and renovate the current grass fields. This is a momentous opportunity that will only be beneficial to the development and progress of all sports teams involved. The Vineyard student athletes have been subject to play on poor, overplayed grass surfaces. By creating a turf playing field and renovating the current grass fields, the Vineyard will be able to cultivate the best players possible, who in turn will be able to compete on first-rate playing surfaces.
I continued to play soccer, after high school, at Elmira College, and played on both grass and turf fields. The only grass fields that could withstand a season’s abuse were strictly used for games, and were rested frequently. With the addition of an artificial turf field, the grass fields will have the benefit of improving through rest during the strongest growing seasons and in times of bad weather. With more rest and less wear on the grass fields, the grass surface will be able to be maintained to a higher standard. Playing on turf also allows for longer seasons, which in turn promotes player development and improved skills. The turf surface with alternative organic infill will provide a place for athletes to develop to their highest potential and achieve future athletic success.
I have been an Academy soccer coach for the New England Revolution for the past five years, and can attest to the importance of a high-quality playing surface. A turf field for high school–level athletics would allow players to get the most out of practice and games. With a predictable and flat surface, players are able to gain more confidence in the technical areas of their respective sports, and concentrate on more tactical approaches to the game. Players would also have the advantage of practicing or playing in poor weather without having the worry about ruining the playing surface, or compromising their level of effort due to an unstable and muddy grass field.
My hope is that the phase one proposal is approved, and that all the sports involved will benefit from a durable, consistent surface. The Vineyard is long overdue for updated fields, and the student athletes have the right to compete on adequate playing surfaces.
As I further my career in coaching, it is evident that providing developing players with exceptional playing surfaces for practice and games is vital to their success and growth. I am excited to hear that the Vineyard community is eager to provide its youth with the essential tools to allow them to compete at the highest level possible.
Alex Poole graduated from MVRHS in 2009, a co-captain in his senior soccer season. He went on to graduate from Elmira College in 2013, having been the captain of the soccer team his junior and senior year. He now coaches for the New England Revolution Academy program.