Getting a stadium ready for a soccer game is a multi-faceted undertaking, requiring lots of preparation before a team sets foot on the turf. This detail-oriented sequence of events must be completed every time to help mitigate problems on the field and ensure the safety of every single player, coach, and fan in the stadium. While preparing the stadium for the next game, don’t neglect the following areas.
Lighting and Electrical Components
Unless your field is really low tech, you likely have several elements on the field which require electricity. Stadium lights, parking lot lighting, scoreboards, concession stands, and turf heaters all require their fair share of electricity. First, turn on these elements one at a time to inspect for burnt out bulbs, blown fuses, or other routine maintenance issues — and if there are any above-ground wires, inspect cables for wear, confirm safe paths for cables, and secure any connection points along the way. Second, if any elements run on a timer or light sensor, test that the switches are set to trigger when they are expected to. Finally, gradually power on everything that will be running simultaneously at the game and check the power draw at the meter socket to confirm that your electrical demand falls within a manageable amount.
Regular maintenance of the grass on a natural soccer field is imperative to player safety. In addition to a final turf cut, thorough field inspection is also necessary. Confirm that the playing surface is level, without any mounds or divots. Take note of any inconsistencies in the turf and take action before game time. Clear away any stray debris, such as rocks, branches, or garbage. Finally, be sure that turf markings are accurately placed and painted at least a few hours before kick-off. Two coats of marking paint are recommended for the clearest, brightest lines.
Fan experience is just as important as player experience. To ensure the best experience possible for game attendees, take time to prepare all of the accommodations for them as well. Bleachers, stadium seats, and stairs should be inspected for wear and tear; confirm that there are no sharp edges, splintered pieces of wood, or loose boards around. Check that all railings are in good working order as well: posts and rails should be very solid to prevent accidents. Ensure that restroom facilities are well-stocked and fully operational — even one or two closed stalls can impact the length of lines, resulting in increased wait time and potentially frustrated fans. Confirm that additional cleaning supplies, soap, and paper products are readily available for adequate maintenance and restocking. If you’re expecting a larger than usual fan turnout, consider supplementing your existing restroom facilities with portable toilets and handwashing stations to ensure that everyone’s needs are met. If concessions will be served, check that all equipment is serviceable and sufficient quantities of refreshments are in stock. Walk through the parking lot to check that the grounds are in good condition and appropriate lighting is available from the lot to the field. If any kind of signage is needed, check that it is ready for use.
Staff are essential to the experience at any soccer game. Hired hands and volunteers alike should be assigned to critical roles, such as parking monitoring, ticket vending, and concessions operation. Confirm that staff assigned to roles necessitating any special certification (such as food handler’s training) are adequately equipped to complete these tasks. Consider designating staff for roles such as manning a lost and found table, collecting garbage, or running a first aid station. It may be helpful to prepare t-shirts or lanyards for game staff to make them easily identifiable during the event.
To make sure that your teams and fans have a really good game experience, it’s essential to cover all of these areas. While it can be time-consuming to check every single thing, the payout of a safe, fun game makes all of the preparation worthwhile.