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Kansas City Wizards Grounds Crew Earns Field Of The Year Honor

November 16, 2009 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Sporting Kansas City News Release

The Kansas City Wizards announced Monday that the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) has named CommunityAmerica Ballpark's playing surface the Professional Soccer Field of the Year. A panel of six judges independently scored each entry based on the playability and appearance of the playing surfaces, innovative solutions, effective use of budget and the development and implementation of a comprehensive, sound agronomic program. Kansas City's grounds crew faces the unique challenges of converting a minor league baseball field into a Major League Soccer surface throughout a nine-month season that features vastly different weather patterns due to the team's location in the Midwest.

"This is a well-deserved award for Jay Griggs, Justin Bland and Michael Moyer," Kansas City Wizards Manager Peter Vermes said. "Those guys do an unbelievable job every week to get the field at CAB ready for Major League Soccer matches. Players in our League cover a lot of ground and put a lot of wear and tear into a field. Making the changes that we make on an every-game basis and keeping the playing surface in world-class condition is a testament to the hard work and ability of our grounds crew."

"This was a great effort from the entire Wizards grounds crew to get the field at CAB ready for Major League Soccer," Jay Griggs, Wizards Sports Field Operations Manager for CommunityAmerica Ballpark said. "Our Wizards crew removed sod and dirt nine different times and installed dirt and sod eight different times this season to complete the conversion to soccer. Our job is to provide a first-class playing surface for MLS games, and this award acknowledges that effort."

Other professional field award winners included Lambeau Field, home of the NFL's Green Bay Packers (Professional Football Field of the Year) and Whataburger Field, home of the Corpus Christi Hooks (Professional Baseball Field of the Year). The Colorado Rapids' surface at Dick's Sporting Goods Park was named Professional Soccer Field of the Year in 2008. The Wizards have never previously won an award from STMA.

"The Field of the Year Award validates the intense dedication of our members," Kim Heck, CEO of the Sports Turf Managers Association, said. "Each year STMA awards no more than 14 Fields of the Year, so a very small percentage of our members are winners. Jay Griggs and his crew are very deserving of this prestigious award for their exhaustive work at CommunityAmerica Ballpark."

Griggs and the entire grounds crew, including Justin Bland and Michael Moyer, will be presented with their award during the Annual Awards Banquet on Fri., Jan. 15, 2010, which is held every year at the Annual STMA Conference and Exhibition. The 21st Annual STMA Conference and Exhibition is Jan. 12-16, 2010, at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort and Convention Center in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

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