In order to meet the growing demand for soccer in the North Bergen Recreation Department, Bruins Soccer Stadium, a synthetic turf field, was opened by the township on Tuesday.
The $1.2 million field, which is owned by the township, will primarily be used by the North Bergen Recreation soccer program, as well as North Bergen High School’s soccer teams, who will have preference during their season.
According to Township Administrator Christopher Pianese, $600,000 was funded by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres Grant program, while the township matched $600,000 through a Green Acres loan.
The stadium, located alongside Bruins Football Stadium in James J. Braddock Park, features an artificial turf field, an electric score board, new lights, and bleacher seating. It is the second turf field in North Bergen.
“We’ll be able to practice more because this is our field now.” – John Angelo Guzman
Recreation Commissioner Allen Pascual said that the previous field was outliving its usefulness, since players couldn’t have games in the rain due to maintaining the grass. Practice times had to be followed strictly, and often the field could not be used for six weeks so that they could re-sod the field.
“In bad weather, there is no problem anymore,” said Mayor Nicholas Sacco. “The fields are perfect.”
The first game held on the new field was the North Bergen Varsity Soccer Team against Memorial High School of West New York on Sept. 14. The score was 2-1, with North Bergen winning the game.
Sacco, along with Guttenberg Mayor Gerald Drasheff (Guttenberg children play in the league), members of the Guttenberg Town Council, North Bergen High School Principal Paschal Tennaro, Pianese, Pascual, and other officials held a ribbon cutting before the game.
John Angelo Guzman, a senior on the North Bergen team, said before the game that with the additional seating more people can now come and watch their games.
“We’ll be able to practice more because this is our field now,” said Guzman, referring to the fact that soccer games were often played on the football field.
Pascual said that the field actually has more turf surface when compared to the football field. It also is lined for football as well, but will be used primarily for soccer.
Pianese praised construction of the field, saying that there were only five percent change orders, something that was unheard of for construction on this scale, he said.
Pianese and Pascual said that construction, which began at the end of their spring soccer season, was finished on time largely due to Park Supervisor Joe Rotundi, who made sure the contractor stayed on schedule.
Now the field will no longer need constant maintenance, something that will save costs for the township, Pianese said. Sacco said that the field has about a 10-year guarantee.
“Without a doubt, this is one of the most used fields that we have,” said Pianese. “It was just always a process trying to keep it maintained and just the pure use of it didn’t allow that to happen. Now it can be used year round.”
Tricia Tirella may be reached at TriciaT@hudsonreporter.com.