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Maryland Soccer Foundation establishes new Sports Turf Institute

September 15, 2022

The Maryland Soccer Foundation (MSF) launched the Maryland SoccerPlex Sports Turf Institute. The program offers an apprenticeship program.

The program consists of four apprentices and four existing staff members. It offers both on-site and classroom education. When finished, the apprentices will leave with a total of 160 hours of instruction over the one-year program and an apprenticeship certificate recognized by major league teams across Major League Soccer.

“This industry has dozens of high-paying jobs and there are no people to fill them,” Jerad Minnick, director of grounds and environmental management for the Maryland SoccerPlex, said. “So, for our own survival, we have taken action to hire and train people to become skilled sports turf professionals. Once they finish the apprenticeship program, they can stay and work with us at SoccerPlex. Or we have the connections to get them jobs in soccer all over the country.”

Minnick, a long-time sports field manager and sports turf advisor, leads the program with guest lectures that include sports turf managers, college professors and turf industry consultants. Classes include virtual learning as well as a lab component and on-field research at the SoccerPlex.

The Maryland SoccerPlex has 24 fields. Recently the Turf Institute team completed a total renovation of the SoccerPlex’s main stadium field to transition to bermudagrass to improve draining, sustainability and playability.

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