Preference for grass keeps Lakers off turf

Last week, Oswego State’s men’s soccer team opened up Laker Turf Stadium, the new home for many of the college’s teams, including men’s soccer, field hockey, men’s lacrosse team and women’s lacrosse team.
However, the new $2.37 million state-of-the-art facility will not be home for Oswego State’s women’s soccer team, at the request of head coach Brian McGrane.
“I think soccer is a game that should be played on grass,” McGrane said. “I think the college did a great job putting money into the grass field three years ago, and I thought it would be a shame to waste it.”
The debate on whether women’s soccer should be played on grass or turf hit national headlines over the past couple of months.
Prior to the Women’s World Cup this past summer, United States women’s soccer team forward Abby Wambach voiced her displeasure about FIFA’s decision to have the Women’s World Cup games played on turf instead of grass.
Wambach talked about how playing on turf changes all aspects of the game, from the speed of play to the severity and amount of injuries players suffer.
McGrane shared Wambach’s opinions on playing on turf. He himself has seen substantial differences between the two different types of soccer fields.
“The biggest one is the speed of the game,” McGrane said. “Any time you add turf and the ball takes off, if you have a team that has a lot of pace then thats great. Pace is certainly an advantage I guess, depending on what team. Another one is injuries. You see a lot less ACL tears and knee injuries on grass than you do on turf.”
His players are also in favor of their coach’s decision to remain on the grass field, instead of moving to the turf stadium.
Sophomore midfielder Emma Geyer shared McGrane’s sentiments in oppisition to the turf field.
“We’re just really aggressive and good on grass, so I think the grass helps us a lot,” Geyer said. “A lot of times you can get injured more on turf and just the way we play, I think we’re better on grass.”
Along with noticing a different playing style, junior goalkeeper Melissa Siegfried brought up the possibility of injuries.
“All throughout high school I played on grass,” Siegfried said. “Rarely any teams I played against had turf. Injuries wise you see more ACL tears and more concussions, and especially being a goalkeeper it’s not fun to get on it.”
The Lakers will not have to worry much about switching back and forth between grass and turf as the majority of women’s soccer teams that are part of the SUNYAC play on grass fields.
“A lot of our competition plays on grass,” McGrane said. “It takes a few minutes to adjust to the pace of the game. It’s a little bit smoother of a game on grass.”
Geyer had confidence that her team could succeed on turf, as she and many of her teammates have experience playing on turf fields throughout their careers. She also believes that opponents who are accustomed to playing on turf will have a harder time adjusting to their grass field.
“I think it’s harder for teams that are used to playing on turf, it’s harder for them to come here and play on grass than us to go there and play on turf,” Geyer said. “I think it’s easier to go from grass to turf because teams are just so used to turf.”
The Oswego State women’s team will continue its grass play when they travel to SUNY Fredonia’s grass field for the Fredonia Tournament, where they will play Grove City on Friday, Sept. 11, and then Penn St. Behrend the following day.