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Soccer received a boost in Cincinnati when the city was awarded an expansion franchise by Major League Soccer in 2018, and when FC Cincinnati began play in the MLS. The team had been playing in the United Soccer League before then. While its new stadium is being built, the team is playing its home games at Nippert Stadium, home of the University of Cincinnati’s football team.
And while FC Cincinnati’s stadium isn’t expected to open until 2021, there has been a positive ripple felt across the community.
On the heels of the stadium announcement FC Cincinnati established a Foundation to give back to the community and promote soccer at the youth level. At the Lincoln Recreation Center, a field designed specifically for Cincinnati’s young soccer fanatics opened earlier this year. Called the West End Mini Pitch, the miniature soccer field built in the same area as FC Cincinnati’s future home and is the first of 10 that will open thanks to a commitment by FC Cincinnati Foundation.
The club said the goal of the mini pitches are to “provide a safe place for children to play soccer,” and, “it’s an opportunity to grow and promote the sport in the city.”
The West End Mini Pitch is a safe artificial turf field installed by The Motz Group, a local company that also provided the artificial and natural turf fields for FC Cincinnati. The field was given extra attention for children through the use of organic infill called Safeshell, provided by Motz.
In addition to being a durable and low-maintenance infill product, Safeshell is safe for children because it removes the residual allergens that could harm children with tree nut allergies. This is a growing challenge, too, as FoodAllergy.org estimates that about 0.5 percent of all children in the United States have a tree nut allergy.
Safeshell is an organic product that is safe for all children to play on. Motz’ patent-pending process removes the allergens to a safe limit below 2.4 parts per million.
That, of course, goes hand-in-hand with the entire motive behind the Mini Pitch – to give kids a free and safe place to play. FC Cincinnati Foundation is hoping the 10 Mini Pitches will serve as rally points for the community, encouraging kids to spend their time being active as well as keeping their attention spans on safe activities.
“People are coming together to serve children in our city,” FC Cincinnati owner Martha Lindner said, according to a story posted on the club’s website. “FC Cincinnati Foundation creates a safe place for children to play and learn, a place where they can have healthy adults in their life cheering them on.”
To this end, it was vitally important to the club and foundation that the products they selected for the fields were safe for play.
In addition, Safeshell infill provides a cooler playing surface than many other artificial turf infill products on the market, which keeps the kids playing on the surface more comfortable. The product also makes the field more durable, and providing the community with a playing surface that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance either.
In all, Motz’ Safeshell infill is the perfect combination of low-maintenance surface for FC Cincinnati and a safe, stable and cool playing surface for the youth of the city.