Toronto Soccer Fans to Relaunch

The more observant among you may have noticed that Toronto Soccer Fans has been dormant for some time.
Various work/life changes have meant that there was insufficient time to keep this site updated to the extent that it deserved.

The Home game on Saturday was an opener in more ways than one. An Eye Opener. The passion of the crowd was fanstastic to see, and was reflected by most of the team. I am shortly relaunching this site as a suitable complement to that.

Check back soon, and any suggestions can be sent via the contact form

Toronto Replica Home Jersey

The Home Opener saw a sea of scarves. Lets make BMO Field into a sea of red shirts, and show your support for the team.
Buy The Jersey Now!

Can artificial surfaces match up to real grass?

Sat 2nd Dec, 2006 1:04pm - articles

Is the decision to use articial FieldTurf in BMO stadium a mistake?

Is the artificial pitch being layed in BMO Stadium affecting the pulling power of Toronto FC? Toronto will be playing on a faux-grass surface known as FieldTurf, and although there must have been significant advances since the sand-laden knee-shredding astroturf I grew up with, there has been some vocal opposition to the decision.

In an article in the Globe and Mail, Julian de Guzman, Paul Stalteri, Charmaine Hooper and most worryingly for Toronto, Dwayne DeRosario have openly stated that they think it is a mistake, with reasons ranging from the generic 'it kills the culture of the game' (Guzman) to "I am definitely 100-per-cent pro grass" (DeRosario). It is possible this could be a critical issue with regards player recruitment, as Mojo has stated "Any player who doesn't want to play on FieldTurf is not someone who we would be interested in having on our team". With rumours abounding about players currently on the tentative roster looking for moves to Europe, the question has to be asked if this is a factor.

Most players will have grown up playing on grassy fields with the occasional FieldTurd, although also will have experienced different artifical surfaces. 'School-grade' astroturf is horrible to play on, indoor footie is a totally different game, and although I am in no position of authority on FieldTurf having never seen let alone played on it, the reflex-based touch and control will certainly have to be 'retrained' for it. Questions also have to be asked about the safety of this new surface. Although it is widely used in other sports (baseball, American football etc..), there is no team sport that is tougher on the knees than soccer. The shear forces that can be put on cruciate and collateral ligaments, especially under a challenge, can be greatly increased to the point of career-threatening injury if the planted foot is stuck in place. This is why beach football and playing in sticky mud are particularly perilous conditions. Whether a FieldTurf installation can allow for the subtle combinations of give, bounce, support and slide that a real turf surface provide, and even if a new installation seems fine what the durability and degradation will be like remains to be seen. If some players harbour these concerns to the point of announcing them, you have to wonder what may be going on under the surface in the minds of any potential target for Toronto FC.

Four of the MLS surfaces next season will be artificial, but as yet Toronto is the only club with a soccer-specific stadium who have committed themselves to FieldTurf. The argument is primarily that the climate of Toronto will not allow for a real grass surface to be maintained (other clubs claim that sharing a stadium is their main issue), but considering the wild extremes of climate in which soccer is already played, I find that hard to swallow. Possibly it was a financial deal behind the scenes as a high-profile installation of the surface, but whatever the eventual decision was based on it was not made with the players in mind, and we can but hope that it will not return to haunt the club in the coming season.