The artificial turf field at Falmouth High School is so new that it doesn't even have an official name as of yet. It was laid down late in the spring and has sat unused, with the exception of some enthusiastic fence-jumpers, until this past week when the Falmouth High football team became the first squad to hold an official practice on it.
But as of last Friday, August 23, all of the programs that will be using it this fall had been on it at least once. The last squad to get a feel for the spongy and springy new surface was the girls' soccer team. They'll be the first to play a real game on it, though, when they open things up on Tuesday, September 3, with a game against Mashpee High.
First-year head coach Corey Dubuque, who succeeds recently retired long-time skipper Greg Gilbert, said that his team is excited to have the distinction of getting to be first to play on it. They would have gotten their first taste of it a day earlier, but the MIAA's new field turf heat index standards forced them to move over to the grass field next to the stadium.
Boys' soccer coach Bill Andrade said that the move from grass full-time to playing games, and holding regular practices, on the new field has gone rather seamlessly. With the boys' and girls' soccer teams, football and field hockey teams, as well as the band, all needing it for practices and games, the schedule for use of the field is worked out stringently over the course of the season.
“We had the field until 9 AM and we were on it until about 8:59 and then they came over and took it. I think everyone is pretty respectful of the time we are allotted, and we're all on the same team,” FHS field hockey coach Courtney Lima said.
Lima said that her team is already benefiting from getting off of grass and playing on the turf. She said she's noticed a marked difference in the speed that drills are run on the field, and that it is allowing the Clippers to maximize their repetitions in practice.
Some hurdles still need to be cleared. Movable goals for both the soccer and field hockey programs had not arrived yet as of last FridayAugust 23, but were scheduled to be delivered on Monday, August 26. The boys' soccer team, playing with the junior varsity on Friday, went old school for a scrimmage and used orange traffic cones to mark the goals.
Coach Derek Almeida said that there are still details to be ironed out in terms of day-to-day use, but he's pleased overall. “We're excited to have our new stadium and can't wait to play games in it,” he said.
That stadium is going to be busy over the next few months, with all of the programs having to share it for games.
“It'll take some getting used to, but in the end it's worth it,” Andrade said. “This thing is beautiful. It's good for Falmouth.”