June 22, 2023

South Sumter High School New Turf Football Field Almost Completed

2.6 min read| Published On: June 22nd, 2023|

By Kyle Coppola

South Sumter High School New Turf Football Field Almost Completed

2.6 min read| Published On: June 22nd, 2023|

South Sumter High School had one of the best seasons in school history last year. The Raiders went undefeated in the regular season and nearly made a State Semi-Final but lost to Cocoa in the Regional Final. Many knew that South Sumter had been trying to get a turf field for years but last year the school finally got the funding they needed for the brand-new surface.

Since the inception of the football team, the field has been natural grass. The surface saw countless teams with winning records, district championships, division 1 college athletes and future NFL stars play on the surface. But over the past few years the natural grass field started to become costly to maintain.

(This is a rendering of how the new field will look when the Turf is laid out. Note the soccer lines built into the turf.)

The field looked beautiful and was always regarded as one of the best natural grass surfaces in Lake & Sumter County. It has always been one of the best places to watch a Friday Night Light football game in the fall. But the field was being used by the Football team, soccer teams and Track & Field.

The track and field were coming to the end of their life, and it was decided that a brand new track and new turf field would be installed. Now there have been studies that say that turf is unsafe and that’s a debate for another time but upfront the cost is expensive. Turf fields are very costly but in the long run over about a 5-to-10-year period they can be less costly than a natural grass surface.

(One of the last images of the original natural grass playing surface at South Sumter which has been torn up in favor of Artificial Turf.)

Now the surface is made up of plastic fibers with a rubber infill which will provide cushion when players get tackled. Now it’s not as forgiving as natural grass and it cuts the skin up pretty bad, but teams have learned to tape players elbows, knees and arms to avoid the burns that happen on this surface.

Turf fields usually play a lot faster than natural grass surfaces so this is something that South Sumter will need to adjust to. The surface should drain a lot better than the natural grass surface which took a ton of water last year. At times it got so bad that half the field would be mud. The new surface will allow water to flow off of it into drainage areas surrounding it. This will reduce the risk of slipping.

(The new Artificial Turf surface comes pre-rolled. Over the course of the next few weeks the turf will be rolled out and stitched together. This is what the surface looks like without turf on top. The new Track will be painted in the coming weeks and months as well.)

The one thing that I am worried about is non-contact injuries. I hope and pray that we do not see an uptick of injuries this season. It is well known that the NFL is trying to get rid of turf fields across the entire league and install natural grass surfaces at all stadiums.

I do see the benefit of Turf fields especially in High School. This surface in particular is the most advanced kind of Turf ever put down at a High School Stadium. It’s a very similar surface that The Villages is putting down at their new home stadium as well.

We look forward to seeing the grand unveil at the end of July or Early August. Congratulations to everyone who made this a possibility, and we look forward to this surface providing a South Sumter athletes with a platform to make it to the next level.

Photos Provided By:

South Sumter High School

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About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

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