Youth Soccer

SYSA/Fay Turf Field Project FAQ

Q. What is the purpose of this project?

A. The purpose of this project is to provide additional field resources for area youth sports teams. This project was conceived by Southborough Youth Soccer Association (SYSA) and Fay School in direct response to the fact that, in recent fall and spring seasons, weather-related factors have rendered the fields unplayable, forcing the cancellation of as many as 50% of local teams’ practices and games. The majority of those cancelled games and practices would have been played if the activities had been held on a more resilient field surface, such as artificial turf. Cancellations dramatically diminish the myriad positive outcomes of participating on a youth sports team; they bring disappointment to players and families; and they create significant additional work for organization volunteers who must reschedule games and practices.

Q. What has been the progress to date?

A. A team consisting of dedicated community leaders, parent volunteers from SYSA, representatives from Fay School, and consultants has been leading this initiative for the last three years. The team designed the vision and worked with town departments and committees to ensure that the field was planned in the best interests of the community. They also met with neighborhood groups with the goal of accommodating the needs of area residents. After numerous reviews and adjustments to the designs, the project received unanimous approval from both the Southborough Planning Board and the Southborough Conservation Commission in September, 2015.

Q. How does the SYSA/Fay School partnership work?

A. The two organizations entered into a lease agreement that outlines various terms of the relationship including: field usage, maintenance, rental administration, and other terms. In general, Fay may schedule team practices and games at the field until 5:00 p.m. on fall and spring days when Fay School is in session (approximately 100 afternoons per year), and SYSA may schedule practices and games on the field at all other times.

Q. What organizations will have access to the field?

A. The primary users of the field will be SYSA and Fay School. However, from time to time the field will be used by various other organizations with the approval of Fay School and SYSA.

Q. What sports will be played on the field?

A. The field will be lined for soccer and lacrosse, and these will be the primary sports played at the field site. Other sports may be played on the field, but there will not be permanent lines on the turf to accommodate those activities.

Q. What is the advantage of artificial turf over natural grass?

A. The greatest advantage that a synthetic turf surface has over natural grass is the vast increase in potential “playable hours” for athletic teams. A properly maintained natural grass field can withstand approximately 180-200 hours of annual play, whereas the number of hours of annual play on a synthetic turf field is limitless, assuming the field is groomed at regular intervals. This offers youth athletic league organizers greater flexibility and reliability in scheduling practice and games.

In addition to the number of playable hours, there are many other advantages of a synthetic turf surface versus a natural grass surface. 1) Performance: Synthetic turf surfaces provide greater consistency in terms of ball bounce, ball roll, and several other performance characteristics. 2) Safety: Synthetic turf surface are devoid of low spots, ruts, and other surface anomalies, which may result in lower extremity injuries. 3) Cost: Synthetic turf surfaces are far less costly to maintain compared to natural grass surfaces. A properly maintained natural grass field needs to be irrigated, aerated, fertilized, and mowed on a regular basis. Synthetic turf fields need only to be groomed on a consistent basis and top-dressed occasionally.

Q. How is the field being paid for?

A. SYSA is funding the construction of the turf surface by a combination of usage fees to outside participants, and existing SYSA member fees. SYSA plans to keep all existing fees at their current levels for the foreseeable future and is confident that the current fee structure will accommodate the debt service of the fields for the remainder of the loan. Fay School, which owns the land upon which the field sits, is granting field usage rights to SYSA in exchange for their financing of the turf surface.

Q. When will the field be available for play?

A. The field is estimated to be installed and ready for play approximately three months after full permitting is completed.