Long story short.  A group of soccer parents (in another part of the state) were upset that their kids had to play varsity soccer games at an elementary school instead of the varsity football field.  The school says it will ruin the field.  The local lawn care company says soccer is good for the field because soccer games will aerate the field, etc.  I think you get the point.

This scenario is common, but the issue is much more complicated.  There really isn’t a correct answer because there are so many variables to consider when dealing with an issue like this.  Politics is huge in this.  Money is huge in this.  Available facilities is huge in this issue.  But let’s get to the core factors that this district needs to consider or at least disspell some myths.

You absolutely can play soccer and football on the same field.  It’s done all the time.  However, a couple of things need to be considered.  Increased activities on any given field will require more maintenance which in turn will require more dollars.  So, adding soccer will not make the field better because soccer aerates the field.  Whoever gave that advice needs to stay out of sports turf.  Also, the current state of the football field must be considered (ie.  How well does the football field hold up to rain events? and How well is the football field holding up in general?)  If the football field is struggling just to make it through a season, then the amount of current maintenance is probably insufficient and the amount of money needed to add soccer games will be even more.  On the flip side, if the field is doing great year in and year out, adding soccer probably won’t require a huge investment.

The picture above is one of my multi-use football/soccer game fields. Using proper athletic maintenance practices, this field tolerates wear & tear extremely well.

A couple of things about multi use football/soccer fields.  Football wear and tear on a game field is considerable and even worse if the field is poorly drained or if games are played in the rain.  Usually the grass is cut a little longer to help with wear and tear or to “slow” the other team down.  Soccer on the other hand, likes to keep the turf cut shorter so the ball can roll better.  Plus soccer players like to have a smooth field without divots etc.  So in order to keep a multi use field playable for both football and soccer, the turf needs to be cut shorter and you will need to deal with divots, holes, uneveness from year to year.  Shorter cut fields require more maintenance.  Also, both sports will need to look at each others field lines.

If the school and soccer parents are serious about finding a resolution, a couple of things need to happen.  They need to find a reputable sports turf maintenance company and assess the football field and determine what needs to be done in order to add soccer events.  They also need to assess why the elementary school field is not adequate in the soccer parents minds.  Is the field bad?  Not enough seating?  You may find that adding resources to improving the soccer field may be less money than trying to add soccer onto the varsity football field.

There are more variables to consider.  There always are.  But I hope this gives you a bit of insight in what goes into making decisions about maintenance on athletic fields.