Australia has been captivated by the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ which concluded last night with Spain securing the premiership 1-0 over England. Never before have we seen our country so united to support our Matildas as they delivered a best-ever performance to finish fourth overall.
To further cement our love of the game and our hero Matildas captain, Sam Kerr, EA Sports launched the Sam Kerr Football Pitch as part of their FC Futures program. Officially opened on 8th August, the pitch is located in the heart of the football community at PCYC (Police Citizens Youth Clubs NSW) in Auburn, NSW.
The permanent pitch is a celebration of Kerr as an icon for girls around the world and to provide a high-quality space with free access, for young girls and boys to utilise in an area of need. In partnership with the Western Sydney Wanderers, the program will include coaching clinics and training camps run by Wanderers coaches and players.
Fans can also check out and play on the Sam Kerr Pitch in the new EA SPORTS FC24 game, which is a continuation of the FIFA video game series but without the official licence.
“We’re thrilled to announce the arrival of EA SPORTS FC in Australia revealing a pitch dedicated to our global ambassador Sam Kerr as part of our FC FUTURES program,” says Stuart Coleman, Senior Director, Asia Marketing for Electronic Arts.
“Partnering with PCYC to provide access to a pitch for the local community in what we hope will inspire the next generation of grassroots players and grow the game in an incredibly exciting time for football in Australia.”
The pitch design
APT partner, Sportszone Group, was contacted by Banter Group back in April to be involved with the project installation of the pitch. Banter was keen to build the pitch from scratch, but due to time constraints Sportszone Group recommended finding an existing court that could be easily converted. The PCYC Auburn basketball court was the perfect choice.
The existing court required some rectification works to make it suitable for the new synthetic grass pitch. Sportszone recommended a 3.6m high fully fenced pitch with padding around the inside for player protection and to also offer an advertising opportunity.
After initial suggestions to use acrylic paint (Laykold) were scrapped due to the cold weather, Sportszone Group then recommended using APT’s Australian made Synlawn Coolplus turf.
The design of the pitch was a collaborative effort between Sam and the design agency Blood UTD and cleverly featured her name in the goal circles, a swan to represent her hometown of Perth and the EA Sports logo. Given the pitch design was being used in the new EA SPORTS FC24 game, it was imperative that the pitch colours matched the game design. After some trialling APT was able to turn around an exact match for the unique turf colours.
Turning the concept into reality
“We created a CAD drawing of the design using a 1m grid to mark out the design on the court before installing the turf. After the design was plotted on the ground, a drone was used to take aerial photos to ensure the design was accurate,” Craig Bowron, Managing Director, Sportszone Group.
“The grass was then laid out and the marks were transferred to the top of the grass with the drone again used to confirm the design accuracy before the turf was cut. Once all of the grass elements were cut including Sam’s name, the swans and EA Sports logo which had to be cut by hand, we took final drone shots to ensure the placement of each element was correct. We then joined all of the pieces together with wet lay adhesive.”
Upon completion Banter Group sent images of the finished project to EA Sports who were ecstatic with the finished product and the exactness to the original pitch design.
The pitch was officially unveiled on Tues 8th August with Arsenal legend Ian Wright, Australian football personality Craig Foster and Matilda Emily Gielnik assisting with the unveiling. Sam Kerr was unfortunately unable to attend because of World Cup commitments.
“It’s an honour to have a pitch inspired by and created in my name,” Kerr said via a statement at the launch.
“To be part of this wonderful initiative to help grow football in Australia as well as providing young girls further opportunities.”
EA Sports FC’s official release date is September 29, 2023.