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Company News

With rugby participation growing in the United States, spurred greatly by the return of the sport to the Summer Olympics in 2016, Sportsfield Specialties Inc. (SSI) is increasingly being asked for rugby equipment that can meet the needs of multi-sport playing fields. Of special note are customized solutions SSI created for Avaya Stadium, the new European-styled home of Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes and Hendricken Field at Providence College.

Well before field construction was scheduled to begin at Avaya Stadium in the summer of 2014 both the design firm of Verde Design Inc. and field contractor Robert A. Bothman Inc. had more than soccer to consider. The reason was that two matches of the Pacific Nations Cup international rugby tournament had already been scheduled to be contested at Avaya in July 2015.

Since the matches would occur during the heart of the Earthquakes inaugural regular season home schedule, the master plan for having the facility rugby-ready at opening would have to be implemented during the field construction phase. With that in mind, Verde contacted David Cloud, Western Regional Manager for SSI to discuss equipment needs and a customized solution that would provide a safe and efficient means of installing and removing the rugby posts without disturbing the grass playing surface.

Central to the SSI plan advanced by Cloud was an in-ground mounting system that would feature customized ground sleeves and footings along with custom-cut goal posts to ensure proper above-field dimensions. After SSI’s model GR4944 rugby goal posts with 44’ high uprights had been specified by Verde for the project, it was up to contractor Bothman to execute the plan.

In August 2014, Bothman and crew installed four 5’ ground sleeves (two at each goal post location) which were set at 9” below grade. SSI had previously designed stamped footings which would accommodate the shorter sleeves and cut the upright posts 3” to ensure the correct height at the time of installation. The design enabled the capping of the sleeves when the rugby posts were not in use so that the soccer field sub-grade could be filled over with dirt and sod and then leveled to the surface of the playing field.

After the sleeves were installed the below-ground and above-ground components did not come together again until December 2014 when Bothman and crew demonstrated complete assembly, installation and removal for the Avaya facilities staff.

Avaya stadium officially opened for business on Feb. 27, 2015.The Earthquakes then welcomed a capacity crowd of over 18,000 fans for their home opener March 22 with a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire as their fan-friendly stadium drew rave reviews. After the Quakes home game on July 14, the changeover for the Pacific Nations Cup, including the installation of the rugby posts, took place as the stadium was made ready for the single-day doubleheader featuring Canada vs. Japan and the U.S. vs. Samoa.

At Providence College, SSI’s rugby goal post innovation grew from an inquiry made by John Amato of JJA Sports whose firm was hired by the college to upgrade Hendricken Field where no less than three other sports besides rugby are played. The challenge for rugby on a multi-sport field like Hendricken is that the goal posts can only by up for competition and then must be taken down and removed following every match. As such the posts must be installed and removed with great frequency. Easing and simplifying the process became the shared goal for Amato and SSI.

After initially considering SSI’s standard hinged rugby posts, thoughts turned to creating lighter posts that would reduce the time and effort involved in installation and removal. Amato asked about the possibility of using carbon fiber for the posts and SSI advanced it from idea to finished product.

For SSI, the customization process included sourcing the carbon fiber material, ensuring that it would securely connect with the aluminum lower framework, and finding a proper painting technique since SSI’s powder coating process would not work on carbon fiber material. SSI accomplished the latter by enlisting the services of an auto body shop.

The rugby goals ultimately made by SSI consist of 10’ carbon fiber sections that top off each of the four uprights (total height is 30’) by stubbing into the upright portion of the aluminum goal framework below it. Under ground is a mounting plate with a piano-style hinge that when pinned to the plate and mating hinge at the bottom of each upright creates the pivot point for the entire goal to be raised and lowered.

With significantly less weight (than aluminum) near the highest point of the uprights, the overall weight of the entire goal is reduced exponentially. After assembly the entire goal is light enough to tip upward from a resting position on the ground by hand by just one person on each side. After successfully reducing time and effort from the installation and removal process, SSI went a step further by designing and manufacturing custom carts. Thanks to the carts, the goals can be folded down, laid into the carts, unpinned at the hinges and easily pushed off the field for storage.

The growth in rugby sales at SSI is reflected in this partial listing of college and club teams that have SSI rugby goals at their fields: University of California at Berkeley, Ohio State University, Army West Point, UCLA, Harvard University, Dartmouth College, University of Pennsylvania, Wheeling (WVA) Jesuit, Colgate University, Hamilton College, University of Illinois, SUNY-Stony Brook, and the New York Athletic Club.

Also, since 2011, all new MLS stadiums including those for Sporting Kansas City, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union, Houston Dynamo and the previously noted San Jose Earthquakes have been outfitted with SSI rugby goals.

In 2009, the International Olympic Committee voted overwhelmingly to return rugby to the schedule of the Summer Olympics in 2016 this time in the form of the faster and more high-scoring seven-a side version. Both the U. S. men’s and women’s teams have already qualified as each won their respective finals in the North American & Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Olympic qualifying tournament in June 2015. Twelve men’s and women’s teams will compete in Rio de Janeiro.

The 85-acre main campus of Fordham University sits tightly in the Rose Hill neighborhood of The Bronx in New York City tightly surrounded by The Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Garden and Metro North railroad tracks. With no room for expansion, getting maximum functionality from its athletic fields is a must.

DELHI - In the midst of the company's fifth expansion since its creation in 1988, Sportsfield Specialties of Delhi is positioned to unveil its 600 foot manufacturing space by year's end.  The space, equal to two football fields in length, when completed will give the outdoor sports equipment manufacturing facility over 130,500 square feet to operate in.  The expansion has occurred in phases, the first of which was completed last year.  During that initial phase, work crews had to remove 76 feet, or eight stories, of dirt to make room for the addition.

When the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy opened in the spring of 2014, it did so with an assist from Sportsfield Specialties Inc, (SSI) which supplied much of the essential baseball equipment for the year-round educational and athletic facility in Fort Dupont Park in the District of Columbia.

On March 1, 2015, Sportsfield Specialties Inc. (SSI) was recognized as the first member in the history of the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA) to earn the organization’s Supplier Certificate of Distinction. The designation is conferred on companies in the supplier division of the ASBA that illustrate exemplary commitment and service to the construction or renovation of running tracks, sports fields, tennis courts, and indoor sports facilities.

Thanks to the expertise of its in-house engineering staff, Sportsfield Specialties Inc. (SSI) often gets the call to work on unique projects. Gonzaga College High School’s new multi-sport Buchanan Field can be put in that category. Normally, preparing the ground mounts to outfit this versatile athletic venue with essentials like football goal posts and safety netting would be a straightforward job.  However, when a concrete underground parking garage lies beneath its surface, there’s a definite need for customization.

When the City of Bayonne, NJ embarked on a major upgrade of Don Ahern Veteran’s Memorial Stadium it chose to follow a trend amongst strapped-for-space urban municipalities and call for a multi-sports layout that could accommodate four different sports—baseball, softball, football and soccer—on the same playing surface.  To assure maximum functionality and provide the community a state-of-the-art recreational facility, the design team at Maser Consulting in Mt. Arlington, NJ also followed a trend by choosing Sportsfield Specialties Inc. (SSI) to outfit the complex with an array of specialized competition equipment.

Two small southern colleges—Berry College (NCAA Div. III) in Mt. Berry, GA and the University of Montevallo (NCAA Div. II) in Montevallo, AL—are going big time with sparkling new track and field facilities that have been outfitted exclusively with competition equipment made by Sportsfield Specialties Inc. (SSI). Thanks greatly to SSI’s reputation for product quality, timely delivery, and personalized customer service; it was an easy decision for college officials and the builder, Sports Turf Company of Whitesburg, GA, to turn to the upstate NY company for all the essential track and field equipment at the new on-campus venues.

Delaware County Electric Cooperative helped Sportsfield Specialties Inc. establish its manufacturing facility in Delhi, N.Y. Not only did this open a path for the co-op to receive a larger share of renewable energy from the state’s power authority, but it’s also helped create permanent jobs for the co-op’s consumer-members.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo handed out early Christmas presents on Thursday, Dec. 11 in the form of $709.2 million in economic and community development funding to hundreds of organizations across New York state. Several Catskills organizations, including MTC Cable, Catskill Mountainkeeper and the village of Sidney, received over a million dollars each.

The home of Army baseball, R.H. Johnson Stadium at Doubleday Field, is finally getting a press box. An enclosed multilevel steel and glass structure weighing about 12 tons that was built by Sportsfield Specialties in Delhi, N.Y., will be delivered to West Point by flatbed truck and then hoisted by crane for installation this month. The new box will have seating for up to 12 writers, scoring and sports information staff.

If Cam Newton fails at football, he could have a heckuva career in politics. Because while we've all seen Auburn's Heisman-hyped quarterback masterfully sidestep 260-pound linebackers since September, we've witnessed something else over the past two weeks.

NFL Films Presents offers a look at the history and manufacture of goal posts, highlighting a Delhi factory, according to a media release.

A conversation with Eric Hulbert, chief of operations at Sportsfield Specialties Inc., the company that made the surprisingly complex field goals for Sunday's Super Bowl. Originally published at Esquire.

DELHI, N.Y. (AP) - When the kickers in the Super Bowl line up to attempt field goals and extra points during this Sunday’s NFL championship game, they’ll be aiming between uprights made by an upstate New York Company.

Touchdown! Eyes looking for scores during NFL Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday will see goal posts made by a manufacturer in Delhi. A Sportsfield Specialties Inc. team of welders, engineers, managers and others were involved in the making the two customized aluminum goal posts standing at either end of the football field at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Abner Doubleday, an 1842 West Point graduate, is said to have devised the game of baseball while on leave from the U.S. Military Academy in 1839, drawing out the diamond and the rules of the game. He called the game "Base Ball," but it was patterned after a game called rounders which was played by boys and girls in England.

Delhi, NY (WBNG Binghamton) When you watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, pay particular attention to the field goal attempts. A Delaware County manufacturer constructed the goal posts.

As part of its desire to make the kicking aspect of scoring more exciting and unpredictable for fans, the National Football League has called upon its leading goal post supplier, Sportsfield Specialties Inc. (SSI) in Delhi, NY, to make custom 14-foot crossbars that will narrow the width of the goal posts for the 2015 Pro Bowl. The game, the league’s annual showcase of its top stars will be played Sunday, Jan. 25 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ, the same venue that will host the Super Bowl one week later.

NEW YORK -- The goal posts for Saturday's Army-Notre Dame game at Yankee Stadium went up about 10 days after the end of the baseball season. Sod was laid over the infield two weeks ago. Yard lines were painted last week.

Football fans across the country will get to see exactly how football goal posts are made at Sportsfield Specialties Inc. (SSI) thanks to an upcoming edition of NFL Films Presents scheduled to air on cable network Fox Sports 1 (Tuesday, Dec. 16, 8:30 p.m. ET, Thursday, Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m. ET and Sunday, Dec. 21 10:00 a.m. ET).

Last year in the NFL, 35 different kickers made a total of 1,262 extra points and 863 field goals over the course of the regular season, and chances are good that not once did any of them — or any of us watching — think twice about the goalposts those kicks sailed through.

As Kerry Page, Associate Director for Athletic Facilities and Sports Turf at the University of Mississippi watched on Saturday, Oct. 4 as thousands of rowdy fans stormed the field at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, he knew immediately what the Rebels dramatic 23-17 comeback win over Alabama meant: He’d be needing to get new goal posts in time for the next home game against Tennessee Oct. 18.

Pedestrians, drivers, spectators and even track and field athletes whose activities bring them near the baseball and softball stadiums on the campus of The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN can now forego the anxious skyward looks whenever they hear the crack of the bat. The reason: an imposing ball safety netting system surrounding both stadiums that was manufactured and installed by Sportsfield Specialties, Inc. (SSI).

BALTIMORE — Football fields are 360 feet long and 160 feet wide, but when it comes to the goal posts, every inch counts. Don Follett, the head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Ravens, knows this well. He was hunched over a square hole behind one end zone at M&T Bank Stadium on Wednesday, adjusting the bolts that secured the gooseneck of the goal post in the ground. The crossbar was about one inch too short, and Follett was tightening the bolts to raise its elevation to the mandated 10 feet.

© 2015 Sportsfield Specialties, Inc.