Nippert Stadium will have a wider pitch this season, as the playing surface for FC Cincinnati was expanded as part of an offseason project.
For its second year of hosting USL action, Nippert Stadium–which is also home to the University of Cincinnati’s football program–received a change that should help improve its ability to host soccer. It now has a pitch that measures at 115-by-75 yards, dimensions that are the result of a project that carved out the corners of the south end zone.
This is an increase from the dimensions of 110-by-70 yards that FC Cincinnati utilized in 2016. Though the project is notable in that allows Nippert Stadium’s playing surface to meet FIFA and MLS standards, it is also an improvement that is welcomed by FC Cincinnati players and coaches. More from Cincinnati.com:
As always, there’s a Major League Soccer expansion push angle to the project. The widened playing surface meets FIFA and MLS specifications, making it more attractive to the league and, possibly, for prospective deals to host international friendlies and other high-profile matches.
FC Cincinnati midfielder Jimmy McLaughlin said it was hard to eyeball the playing surface and clearly determine it was noticeably larger, but it is.
Head coach Alan Koch said he expects the players will notice the increased width and depth of the field during games.
“There’s a lot of space to play on,” Koch said. “As a team that likes to play possession-based soccer and has some of the athletes that we do in our group this year, I think it’s something we can fully utilize to go out and have success.
It has been a busy offseason for FC Cincinnati, as the organization became one of 12 entities to submit a bid for an MLS expansion franchise in January.
The widened playing surface was used by the team for the first time during a workout on Tuesday. It will make its regular season debut on April 15, when FC Cincinnati hosts St. Louis FC for the home opener at Nippert Stadium.
Image courtesy FC Cincinnati.
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