SALT LAKE CITY, UT – December 23, 2022 – The Sports Field Management Association (SFMA) has announced the 2022 Professional Soccer Field of the Year is America First Field, home to Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer.
With winning this award again this year, the Club’s Groundskeeping Team becomes only the third to win on multiple occasions, having accepted this honor in December of 2019.
The Field of the Year is awarded to natural grass fields that exhibit excellent playability and safety and whose managers utilize innovative solutions, effectively use their budgets, and have implemented a comprehensive agronomic program.
“It is such an incredible honor to win this award, it’s the highest honor in the Sports Field Manager profession so I am so excited to share this award with my team of Clay Runk, Blake Benhoff, and Mikell Rasmussen,” said Dan Farnes, Senior Director of Fields and Grounds for Real Salt Lake. “We are in more of an underdog position based upon the resources and conditions we face as a groundskeeping crew. Being in the Rocky Mountains we experience all four seasons, but two of those seasons offer extreme conditions that are on opposite ends of the spectrum with our summers being extremely hot and dry, and our winters providing an early frost and high snowfall totals that can linger into late-May. It is a constant task to keep our field in optimal conditions.”
“America First Field has some of the most majestic views of the Rocky Mountains, but the beauty of our perfectly manicured playing field just cannot be outdone,” said John Kimball, President of Real Salt Lake. “Our grounds crew is out there finetuning our pitch every single day to ensure our turf is beautiful and safe for every player who gets to set foot on our playing field. We could not be more proud to see their efforts recognized by SFMA naming America First Field the 2022 Professional Soccer Field of the Year.”
The 34th SFMA Conference and Exhibition will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, January 16-19, 2023. It will feature seven education tracks, a full trade show/exhibition, networking opportunities, Keynote address, SAFE fundraisers, the SFMA Student Challenge, Seminar on Wheels, and much more. America First Field in Sandy and Zions Bank Training Center in Herriman will be two of the featured facilities during the Seminar on Wheels during the Conference.