By Nick Beaulieu, Sports Editor
Construction to the new and modern Caniglia field continues on the south side of main campus as the new school year and fall season begins. Hype about what was to become of the old football field circulated for weeks last year, however, with the soccer team switching to Division-1, the university decided to upgrade the team’s home turf, and turn the old football field into a top of the line soccer pitch.
A big draw to the field is that it will feature artificial turf specifically created for soccer, joining Creighton’s Morrison Stadium as two state of the art soccer playing surfaces in the city.
“We went and examined fields all over the country. Different styles and makes, this had the best soccer playability most like a grass field,” Associate Athletic Director Mike Kemp said.
Kemp, who’s concentration is on events and facilities described the details of the new turf saying rather than crushed rubber, the infill which is what holds the field down is a unique fiber imported from Italy made of ground coconut husks and corks. This material eliminates the splash of rubber that normal turf fields have, acting more like a granule dirt.
Not only does the field have a unique infill, but the field will feature an E-Layer
which is a thin cover made of crumb rubber, that is “mixed with coagulating product so when paved on the rock it creates a pervious layer two inches thick that absorbs shock” Kemp said. This feature’ purpose includes concussion prevention, while still keeping the field firm.
The field will also be used again for intramurals like it once was before, along with practices and games. The teams practiced at the Chili Greens fields on the most southern side of campus last year where intramurals were also played.
The field will literally be deemed world class quality, as FIFA plans to deem it a “FIFA Recommended 2 Star” after completion. FIFA ranks turf on a one and two star grade, giving UNO a prestigious asset.
“I think it’s a huge gold star for our institution we’ll have when this project is complete. There will be no field of its kind in the area and [will] give us a recruiting advantage many schools don’t have.” Kemp said.
UNO hopes to rival in town Creighton’s Morrison stadium as the UNO’s facility and team progresses over time.
“We think in the long run our stadium will be better. The reality of it is this is phase one of a three phase project.” Kemp said.
Phase one being the installation of the new turf, while two involves improvements to the surrounding stadium area including bathrooms, a plaza and the entrance and three being altering space under the stadium creating locker rooms.
Construction for the field, originally expected to be finished around the opening of the school year ran into difficulties with weather and conditions this spring and summer with cold temperatures late into the year and a high amount of rainfall in the summer months.
The current targeted completion date is late September/early October this fall.