Soccer Officials Share Their Views

CSN interviewed two local soccer officials who work games on TC fields. They asked that their names not be used.

“I myself don’t care for it” said the referee from Durham, referring to synthetic turf tire crumb (TC) fields. He has been a soccer ref since 1997 and told CSN, “I don’t know anybody that prefers turf over natural surfaces.”

Another official, who lives in Chapel Hill and is in his seventh season, said he also dislikes play on crumb rubber because the pellets “get stuck in your shoes, clothes, in your car, everywhere.”

Besides being a nuisance, he said, the artificial material impacts the nature of the games itself: “It’s a different game on artificial turf than natural grass,” he said. “It directly affects the speed and flight of the ball, especially when wet.”

He noted that fields degrade as they age and wear becoming thinner and more dangerous to participants as seams open up and the surface hardens making for greater impacts on falls and dives.

The life span for properly maintained fields is 8-10 years. He wondered “if the millions needed for replacement will be available” and if not, if the fields will be allowed to wear out and become more dangerous. In hot weather TC fields typically become much hotter than natural ones, he added.

As for the potential health issues posed by TC fields he feels the numbers are “way low” on the growing list of  young athletes (mostly soccer players) on the Tire Crumb Cancer List (CSN, Jan  2016).

Bob Conroy