RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) and Abby Wambach, co-captain of the World Cup champion U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, have announced a partnership to raise awareness about the benefits of natural turf.
Wambach became a spokesperson in the media for the support of natural grass fields shortly after FIFA announced in July 2014 that the 2015 Women’s World Cup’s nine stadiums would feature synthetic turf surfaces. She expressed concerns about safety, declaring that unlike natural grass, synthetic turf leads to injuries and changes the game altogether.
“There is nothing better than playing the sport I love on a real grass field,” Wambach said in a news release. “The ball moves quickly and I’m required to react fast and with precision. Real, well-maintained grass helps me anticipate the ball’s movement and feel better about going all-out.”
As part of the new partnership, Wambach spoke to the media at an event organized by RISE on July 29 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
“Soccer is a great foundational sport, and I want kids to someday be able to experience everything I have,” Wambach said. “That all starts with a natural, healthy playing field.”
During the interviews, Wambach told athletes — and parents of athletes — to think before stepping on a playing field. The following list was provided in a news release from RISE:
- Natural turf is the optimal playing surface: Practice and competition on natural grass creates softer, and up to 40 degrees cooler, fields with less risk of knee and ankle injuries and skin abrasions.
- Turf care is an integrated game plan: The best playing fields showcase the results of an integrated pest management (IPM) approach to managing weeds, insects and diseases that harm grass. Well-maintained grass offers thick, reliable play; otherwise, grass can become patchy with weeds or dirt, creating tripping and other hazards.
- Groundskeepers need a complete toolbox: Professional groundskeepers and sports turf managers need access to effective pesticide and fertilizer products that help keep grass healthy. Turf managers use these products judiciously to solve or prevent specific problems.
- Natural turf is personal: Natural grass fields vary with region, soil type, weather patterns, field use and more. The approach for all fields should be specific to those conditions to keep the field in great playing shape. With proper maintenance, natural grass fields do not have a fixed life and can be used for more than 20 years without replacement.
“The benefits of real turf playing surfaces bring to life the importance of healthy grass in all the places we live and play, which gives us the opportunity to show the value of products used to maintain healthy turf,” said Karen Reardon, vice president of public affairs for RISE. “Abby’s media interviews and the content shared through social media highlight her professional athlete’s perspective, though the benefits she describes are well known to athletes, parents and communities across the country.”
Photo credit: RISE