Memorial Field no longer host to state finals

Federal Way Memorial Field will not be hosting any upcoming state high school soccer finals after the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association decided that state finals could not be played on AstroTurf.

The WIAA Executive Board made the decision during its March meeting after receiving a recommendation that came out of the State Soccer Summit, which took place last December.

The soccer summit was composed of soccer coaches, officials and high school administrators. They requested natural grass or Field Turf as the preferred surface for state soccer tournaments.

The WIAA Executive Board met and decided the 2003 state finals be played on FieldTurf, an artificial surface that more closely resembles natural grass. A new location has yet to be named.

Federal Way Memorial Field, which was most recently resurfaced with AstroTurf in 1995, hosted the girls soccer finals the past six years.

While the state tournament didn’t bring in any money to the Federal Way school district, it helped the Federal Way hotel and business community.

“I guess it’s to be fair to the teams who never play on AstroTurf,” said Decatur athletic director Greg Flynn, the event manager of the girls state soccer finals for the past four years. “It was a nice thing to have here for the community since we’re a soccer community.”

Most high school soccer teams from Eastern Washington play regular season games on natural grass, then face a change in surface for the state finals. The ball rolls faster and bounces higher on AstroTurf, compared to FieldTurf, which more closely resembles the characteristics of natural grass.

Federal Way’s Sacajawea Junior High School installed FieldTurf soccer fields in January of 2000, but Sacajawea lacks the facilities to host the state finals.

Only 13 outdoor soccer fields are composed of FieldTurf in the state of Washington. Of those, only seven have the bleachers and facilities necessary to host the state finals: Lakewood Stadium, Curtis High School in Tacoma, Lynnwood High School, Civic Stadium in Bellingham, Washington State Stadium in Seattle, WSU’s Martin Stadium and UW’s Husky Stadium.

The two college stadiums are not likely sites for the high school state tournament, which leaves five FieldTurf options for the WIAA.

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