A touch of Premier League quality in Flanders fields2014-11-24
When the Premier League decided to donate a new pitch to Ypres-based football club KVK Westhoek, they scanned the market for the very best in artificial turfs. Lano Sports answered the call with MXSi TLT. As a result, this winter, youngsters from Premier League Academies including Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC will showcase their skills on a pitch of the highest quality.
In the southwest of Flanders, the memory of World War I is more alive than ever. Each year, local football team KVK Westhoek hosts the Premier League Christmas Truce tournament, which allows young people to honour the spirit of the Christmas Truce football matches played in 1914 and to remember all those who served in World War I. With Belgian, German, French and English teams competing, the tournament is highly anticipated year after year, both in Ypres and far beyond.
For this year's centenary edition of the tournament, squads from every Premier League club took part. To accommodate these future Premier League starlets, an upgrade of KVK Westhoek's training accommodation was agreed, with the pitch then donated to the Community of Ypres and young footballers everywhere. Youth Coordinator Geert Glorie explains: "We used to have problems with our training pitch in wintertime. Due to an impermeable clay soil, the grass field would often get unplayable after periods of excessive rain. This not only was a problem for the annual Premier League Christmas Truce tournament, we also had to look for indoor alternatives to accommodate our own youth teams."
The Premier League offered financial support to install a new, artificial pitch in Ypres and together with the City of Ypres and KVK Westhoek a tender was issued. Based on quality, value for money, certificates and positive references, Lano Sports' solution was chosen over that of other manufacturers.
Positive first impressions
During this summer's off-season, Lano Sports coordinated the installation of its MXSi TLT artificial turf at the grounds of KVK Westhoek. By early August the pitch was ready. These past few weeks, both youth and senior players have literally been getting the feel of it. "Although it feels different at first, our youth players quickly came to love the pitch. Our head coach was among the sceptics at first, but the positive reactions from our senior team quickly convinced him as well", said Glorie.
A firm favourite, for players and groundsmen alike
Training on ball control requires a perfectly level and dry pitch. MXSi TLT, Lano Sports' newest and most innovative artificial turf offers a soft and comfortable surface, equal or better to that of natural grass. Unlike with other artificial grass pitches, players don't have to worry about burn marks or abrasions. What's more, an MXSi TLT is much easier to maintain: simply sweeping it once a week is all it takes to keep the pitch in mint condition. No need to mow, no need to water, no need to rechalk the lines time and time again.
With the perfect conditions in place, everyone at KVK Westhoek is looking forward to receiving the Premier League youngsters during the upcoming tournament. Glorie: "The visiting teams will now have training grounds at their disposal that meet their high quality standards. And for our own teams, we have already drawn up a schedule that will allow both our senior team and youth players to train outdoors throughout the winter."