POMONA >> Soccer balls moved swiftly over the natural turf as Mindy Castro’s young athletes, members of the Soltilo FC Los Angeles club soccer team, practiced dribbling on one of four fields at Fairplex recently.
The carefully maintained grass field is free of gopher holes, divots and bare patches of dirt.
“In Southern California, this is the best field you can get,” the coach said after her team of girls, ages 8 and 9, finished practice for the day.
Other fields Castro’s young athletes have played on have had tall grass, holes or were soft from poor drainage. Such conditions can lead to athletes suffering injuries such as twisted ankles, but that’s not the case now.
“It doesn’t get better than this,” Castro said.
The field the young athletes were training on along with three others are on what once served as the infield of the horse racing track at Fairplex.
“We converted the infield rough into really a fine tuned playing surface,” said Michelle DeMott, vice president of marketing at Fairplex.
When the decision was made in 2014 to end thoroughbred horse racing at Fairplex following a decline in the number of racing dates and other factors, Fairplex leaders explored new ways to use the land, said Miguel Santana, president and chief financial officer of the Los Angeles County Fair Association.
Fairplex leadership had an additional challenge to address.
“We needed a use that’s multipurpose,” Santana said.
The use needed to be compatible with events, such as Fairplex’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show, the annual Vans Warped Tour, and the L.A. County Fair.
click here to read more.