Supplement Feature - July 2009
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Stadium Solutions

An Inside Look at Outdoor Sports

By Richard Zowie

Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium
Princeton University
Princeton, N.J.

In 2008, Princeton University opened Roberts Stadium, its new soccer facility. There, the Tigers hope to continue the success they've had in soccer as the women's team appeared in six straight NCAA tournaments from 1999 to 2004 and won four of five Ivy League titles from 2000 to 2004. The men's team has won six Ivy League Championships and has had 13 players achieve All-America status.

Roberts Stadium and its playing field, Myslik Field, are named after two men: Thomas S. Roberts, who graduated from Princeton in 1985 and is the former record-holding goalkeeper on the men's soccer team; and Robert Hauter Myslik, a 1990 Princeton graduate, a soccer player, teacher and former assistant Tigers soccer coach who died in 2003.

The new stadium came about through an $8.4 million fundraising effort by alumni and friends of Princeton soccer. It is on the campus' south side. A three-sided stadium, Roberts features a natural-grass playing field and an adjacent practice field (Plummer Field) with an artificial surface. It also features a 3,000-seat capacity.

The goals are European-style goals modified with an additional net atop the goal post to act as a ball stopper. This is designed to prevent people from being hit by an errant ball.

The game field features a sand-based, vertically drained, bluegrass sod field from Tuckahoe Sod Farm in Hammonton, N.J. The irrigation system is also computer-monitored.

"We use an advanced water management system to monitor the temperature, humidity, solar radiation and soil temperature, and from the data, we can calculate how much water the field should get instead of just running on a timed sprinkler," said Princeton's Associate Director of Athletics Jeff Graydon.

What's more, the playing and practice fields are both equipped with drainage systems designed to retain a 100-year storm—specifically, 8.3 inches of rain in 24 hours—before letting any water run off into a nearby lake.

"If it's a light rain, it plugs into the soil and down into the groundwater," Graydon added.

The field lighting for both the game and practice fields is diagonal, with the lights forming an X shape as they illuminate the field. This layout, as opposed to perpendicular sideline illumination, is specific for soccer.

The lighting has internal glare control and night visors that give off very little glare or spill light. The fixtures are also more efficient per watt. Graydon said it's impressive because of how well it illuminates the field while not wasting power.

"We're very sensitive to light pollution," he said. "We've been very satisfied with it."

Work on Roberts Stadium began in April 2007 and was completed in August 2008.