After winning the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference Championship in New York, the Columbus Crew Soccer Club will be playing at home in the 2015 MLS Cup Championship at MAPFRE Stadium on Sunday December 6. But before the Columbus Crew play against the Portland Timbers for the title, the soccer field has to be in the best shape for the finale of the 2015 MLS season.
Weston Appelfeller (pictured right, below) is the Director of Grounds at MAPFRE Stadium and is a 2006 graduate of The Ohio State University Turfgrass Science program. Appelfeller is in charge of the grounds & field (pitch). Ben Jackson is the Assistant Director of Grounds & Andrew Northeim (pictured left) is the Assistant Groundskeeper, both graduated from The Ohio State University Turfgrass Science program in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Appelfeller is currently VP of the Ohio Sports Turf Manager’s Association and is actively involved in the industry at all levels, from training interns each year to serving on committees & speaking at conferences. MAPFRE Stadium was also recently named Sportsturf Manager Association’s Field of the Year Award for the best soccer pitch in 2015, which is a huge accolade for Appelfeller and his team.
Leading up to Sunday’s game, the weather looks good for the grounds crew at MAPFRE, with temperatures in the 40’s and mid-50’s forecast. The pitch is currently covered with a CoverMaster Evergreen tarp until Thursday December 3rd. After the removal of the tarp, the grounds crew will be busy mowing the pitch at 15/16 inch, twice-a-day, from Thursday until game day on Sunday. Along with mowing, they will put on fertilizer on Thursday to maintain growth and color. On Friday and before the game on Sunday, the grounds crew will paint boundary lines. The crew will also apply water directly before the game on Sunday (weather depending) to provide true ball play for the game. Pre-germinated perennial ryegrass seed has also been applied to each goalmouth and in high traffic areas.