New soccer field on wish list at Center Grove

By the end of last soccer season, when Center Grove was hosting a boys sectional final against Franklin, the field was pretty beat up.

If Trojans coach Jameson McLaughlin has his way, the pitch will be much more durable in the future.

McLaughlin, who guided the Center Grove boys to a state championship in 2015, made a presentation before the school board recently advocating for the installation of a new field turf playing surface that would hold up better through the boys and girls seasons in the fall.

Both the coach and Center Grove athletics director Jon Zwitt noted that there are no concrete plans in place for changes to the soccer facility, but both are hopeful that planning could start to have a new field in time for the 2018 fall season.

The largest hurdle would likely be financial. Zwitt said that the cost of such an upgrade would be too large for the school district to cover without some outside assistance.

The price tag would be significantly lower than the approximately $1.5 million that went into the renovations at the football stadium last year, but still sizable — Zwitt estimates a new soccer field would cost about $800,000.

All four Johnson County high schools that have both football and soccer — Center Grove, Franklin, Greenwood and Whiteland — have installed turf football fields, but only Greenwood currently plays soccer games on that same surface. All of the other county soccer programs have separate facilities and play on natural grass.

Among the Trojans’ peers in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference, only Carmel has a dedicated turf field for soccer. Other MIC programs occasionally play on the school’s turf football fields.

Center Grove won sectional championships in both boys and girls soccer last season.