Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Clarke Stadium turf claims third victim of the year: Michael Nonni the latest Eddie to go down

Clarke Stadium turf claims third victim of the year: Michael Nonni the latest Eddie to go down


The aging Clarke Stadium turf is certainly taking its toll. The number of non-contact injuries that FC Edmonton players have suffered this season is up to three.

On Thursday, midfielder Michael Nonni was on crutches and had a walking boot. The day before, he hit a dip in the ground during a post-training cool-down ball juggling exercise, and injured his Achilles.

His injury is almost the exact same as suffered by forward Daryl Fordyce, who got his cleats caught in the Clarke Stadium turf during a July training session. The injury forced Fordyce to miss the start of the fall season.

And, earlier this year, defender Carlyle Mitchell, on loan from the Whitecaps, missed nearly a month after he got his foot caught in a seam on the turf during a match against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Mitchell is currently back with his MLS parent club, the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The turf at Clarke, which has the football lines sewn in, is at the end of its 10-year lifespan. FIFA has said that if the stadium is to be used as a practice facility for the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup and 2015 Women’s World Cup, new turf without football lines must be installed. The stadium is next door to Commonwealth Stadium, and adjoins a new state-of-the-art fitness centre.

NASL commissioner Bill Peterson met with city officials last week to discuss the possible installation of a new pitch ahead of the 2014 NASL season, one which would not have football lines on it during soccer matches. Outgoing Mayor Stephen Mandel has said that the decision on the turf will be up to the next city council, which will be elected in late October.

Earlier this year, FCE coach Colin Miller had commented that the best way to treat the turf would be to lob a hand grenade onto the pitch and start over. But, he said Thursday that the uneven, seams-coming-up pitch at Clarke “was like Wembley” when compared to the field at Tampa’s Al Laing Stadium, where the Eddies got a 1-1 draw with the Rowdies last weekend. Before the start of that game, the Eddies requested that the groundskeeper fill a hole in the field that was ankle deep.

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  1. BCM

    August 30, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Funny how when injuries occur on grass – which they do – no one says, “another natural grass injury”. Football players dig in and cut, sometimes the knee/ankle doesn’t follow. It happens.

    Not saying the turf isn’t bad or doesn’t need replacing (I haven’t seen it live), but sometimes reactions go overboard.

  2. Dave

    August 30, 2013 at 4:14 am

    To my knowledge there hasn’t been a single turf-related injury involving the two junior football teams this year.
    I’m wondering if it’s because the turf was made to withstand the shorter, blunter cleats on football shoes and not soccer shoes. Just a thought?

  3. Ray

    August 29, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    I suppose there isn’t much hope for a natural grass field any time soon?

    • Steven Sandor

      August 30, 2013 at 12:08 am

      No. Considering that two-star artificial turf is mandated for WWC, and Clarke will still be multi-use, the fake stuff is here to stay.

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