WATERVILLE — When Thomas College men’s soccer coach Christopher Parsons looks at his team’s home field, he sees a surface tailored to the kind of game he likes to coach.

More than that, Parsons sees so much progress from when he played at Thomas. A little beyond the nice but ordinary grass field are two turf fields, and all it will take to impress someone is to say, “Come check this out.”

“It was unbelievable,” Parsons said. “It was the nicest field turf surface I’ve ever been on. We are expecting this to be a major recruiting tool for the entire athletic department.”

The new turf fields are next to each other in the complex, and will serve the men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and field hockey teams. The fields are known on campus as the “black” and “red” fields, for the color of the 12-foot border surrounding each field.

Roussel said the fields will likely be done by early next week, and the first intercollegiate event on the new fields will be Sept. 12, when the field hockey team hosts Bates under the lights. The men’s soccer team has a home game scheduled on the turf for Sept. 18 against the University of Southern Maine, and the women’s soccer team has its first night game scheduled for Oct. 10 against the University of Maine at Farmington. There will be a formal dedication on Sept. 22 at noon.

The fields are not the same surface, but will each have the effect of speeding up play over grass fields. The black field, for the soccer and lacrosse teams, is more of a field turf. The red field, for field hockey, is victory turf, a hybrid between field turf and AstroTurf.

“For us, the field is going to cater more toward our style of play,” Parsons said. “Being a much flatter surface, it caters more toward those teams that have an indirect style and like to pass the ball.”

“It’s like night and day,” field hockey coach Andrea Thebarge said. “I think it’s going to take our level of play to the next level, for sure. There’s a lot of skills you can do on turf that you can’t do on grass.”

Field hockey is going more toward turf at the high school level, with some teams playing home games on turf and the regional and state finals usually on the synthetic surface.

“Nobody in the state has the type of surface that we have,” Thebarge said. “It’s a lot faster than field turf. I think it’s going to help a lot with recruiting, and I think it already has.”

There are several regular season high school field hockey games scheduled for the red field this season, and the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship games, which are usually at Colby College, will be at Thomas Oct. 11.

Roussel said with two soccer teams using the field, there wasn’t enough time to schedule openings for high school varsity and JV soccer games at Thomas this fall, but he said the school hopes to add them in the future. Thomas also hopes to show off its fields with high school lacrosse games in the spring.

“We went with getting the best quality turf on each field, and we’re very happy with what we’ve got,” Roussel said. “The whole complex is just what we wanted.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]


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