GREEN BAY - High school spring sports teams kept pent up by the cold are getting creative to get their practice in. Green Bay Southwest is one of several area girls' soccer teams who’ve gone off campus to practice at the House of Speed in Green Bay. They plan to practice there
The Trojans are supposed to play their first game on Thursday but like other teams forced inside. They're fighting an uphill battle to get ready for the season installing plays and building a cohesive on field product. Southwest head coach Tyler Thomas explained the challenge, "A lot of these girls haven't played together since our season wrapped up in June. All the trainings we have had have been small sided in the gym."
When Southwest or other teams like them aren't practicing at a facility like Synergy Field at the House of Speed, they're inside at school. Often they’re practicing on a basketball court and as you can imagine it's tough to simulate the conditions of a soccer field inside on the hardwood.
Trojans senior Kayla Niccum explained the biggest difference between practicing in the gym and on the field. "As far as being able to get some touches on the ball, getting some skills worked out where the ball reacts differently on turf than it does in the gym," Niccum said.
Fellow senior Olivia LaPlante agreed with her teammate. Turf beats hardwood any day. "Grass is obviously more of a cushion than a hardwood floor so being able to get touches, being able to get shots off really helps us," LaPlante said.
Beyond the much more ideal playing conditions, their head coach said just simply having more space is a big help. The Synergy Field playing surface is 13,500 square feet as opposed to a 4,200 square foot playing surface of a standard high school basketball court.
“We've had three basketball courts and 55 girls trying out for a soccer program and the balls are flying everywhere,” Thomas said. “There's a very limited amount of time that you really get to get a look at all the players."
The turf field gives the players the freedom to play more aggressively, something Kayla Niccum relished. "A lot less floor burn, maybe some turf burn, but it's a lot more comfortable to go up against each other."
The Trojans hope less floor burns and more wins will be the result from their time on the turf.