The seventh Women’s World Cup in Canada was the largest and most successful women’s soccer tournament to date, which saw 24 teams competing across six venues on synthetic football turf .
STRI worked with the groundstaff and FIFA officials to ensure the match venues and all the training venues were tournament ready and used FIFA’s 2 Star Recommended Football Turf. The highest standard of turf available and developed specifically for professional football.
STRI held a technical and practical workshops at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton for groundstaff and contractors tasked with preparing the pitches. Topics included general synthetic turf maintenance, pitch presentation, practical methods of striping the fields and tournament testing requirements.
Surface testing was carried out at all sites. This included ball roll/ball rebound measurements, assessments of infill depths, and pitch firmness and resilience testing. Deltec Fieldtesters were used to monitor pitch conditions during pre and post training sessions and also took readings from areas of the pitch where training drills had taken place and infill had shifted.
The specific mowing pattern required at all FIFA competitions had to be replicated on artificial turf, no mean feat on fibres which were designed to remain upright.
None of the venues had irrigation systems installed and STRI consultants came up with a solution to irrigate the pitches prior to kick-off and at half time. Also, deep watering to assist with cooling was necessary at a few venues where summer temperatures were high.
The tournament was a major success and we were privileged to work with the many people involved. The support of the National Organising Committee was exceptional, together with the FIFA representatives at each venue.
The commitment, dedication and willingness of the teams on the ground to ensure that the pitches were maintained to the highest possible standard was commendable.
The final between the USA and Japan had the highest ever TV audience in the USA for any televised football game, male or female, and the quality of play helped raise the profile of the women’s game. It was an extremely rare opportunity for STRI to be involved in such a high profile tournament on synthetic turf and we enjoyed the experience.