Minford Principal Jeff Pica was once the athletic director for the district and knows what goes into maintaining athletic fields. He can recall a soccer field with mud up to the knee and uneven divots that made for rough play. He was ecstatic last week, when the district cut the ribbon on a new field for boys and girls soccer.
“The new soccer playing surface is amazing. It looks great and is an example of what happens when everyone pulls together,” Pica said.
Just before the girls team brought home a win, a ribbon cutting was held, with a voice booming over the field, “In March, the soccer coaching staff had a vision to upgrade our field conditions for our student athletes. With the support of so many community members, businesses, parents, and school board, we have been able to complete this project in six short months.”
The crowd collectively cheered on the new field and the ribbon was cut.
Coach Shane Tieman, girls head coach, and Jacob Hackworth, boys head coach, are largely responsible for the field updates.
Principal Pica agreed, saying that he has driven by the field all hours of the day and night to find staff and volunteers working on it.
“I have seen coaches, volunteers, and players out there, even late, fixing divots or mowing it,” Pica said. “It is amazing how much time soccer volunteers and parents in general put into maintaining that field. They’re awesome. It was a massive team effort.”
Tieman was thrilled with the new field.
“We got to play the home opener on it. I am really pleased with it. We wondered if it was going to grow, but Grass Masters out at Indiana said it would take off. By Golly, it sure did. A lot of people came together with time and money to make it happen. It is probably the best surface my kids have played on ever. We really love it and we know it is going to get better every year. It is really good for a first-year pitch and we’re extremely happy with it. We think, in ten years, this field is still going to be in great shape, because we are going to take really good care of it.
Tieman’s team went on to win their first game on the field.
“I’m pleased with my team’s indoctrination of the field. We started off a little slow, getting used to the surface, because we wanted to stay off it as long as possible for that first game,” Tieman recalled. “It held up real well and the girls played selflessly, playing offense and distributing the ball.”
Hackworth explained the need for a new field was great, given that the field prior as uneven, hard, and 30 percent dirt. Having played Soccer for Minford, he sees the importance of a quality surface.
“Quality playing surface is going to help us out so much, because the game has changed so much, locally. Instead of a kick and run style game that our team was known for, we have become more about possession and playing soccer the right way,” Hackworth said, “So, a quality surface with a good, clean roll and smooth bounce, at a good pace, goes a long way when it comes to the quality of play you’re able to achieve.”
The field was made possible, thanks to Minford Local School District, Eric and Stephanie Miller, Loren and Debbie Miller, Gampps John Deere, Glockner Family of Dealerships, Dave Gampp, Tieman Family, Clevenger Family, Minford Dairy Bar, Desco Federal Credit Union, Minford Telephone Company, Butch Buckle, Casey and Hudson Neal, Matt Brooks, Balzer Excavating, Minford Giovannis, Burchett Farms, LLC, Jason and Kristie Johnson, and Harold and Marylin Turner.
Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved