Artificial pitch construction reignites world cup fever in Sydneys West

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
4 Min Read

The FIFA Women’s World Cup may be over, but the tournament’s legacy will live on past the final whistle, thanks to the construction of a new artificial soccer pitch in Sydney’s west.

The five-a-side football pitch was built to celebrate the Matildas’ record-breaking run to the semi-finals as part of the EA Sports FC Futures program which will invest $10 million globally to grow community football.

Named after Matildas’ superstar captain Sam Kerr, the state-of-the-art facility at Auburn’s Police Citizen Youth Club (PCYC) has become a playable arena in the popular video game EA Sports FC 24.

The announcement has sent surrounding schools into another soccer frenzy, with students even more eager to play on the real-life video game pitch.

PCYC brand and philanthropy general manager Simon Gerathy told the Build-it that PCYC Auburn was running a range of community programs to ensure all surrounding school students had the chance to use the space.

“A new football facility helps engage not just children, but also siblings, parents, and grandparents, connecting multi-generational immigrant families to an Australian community institution that has social cohesion at its heart,” he said.

Mr Gerathy believes football fever shows no signs of slowing down in Sydney’s west, with the club offering free ‘have a go’ football sessions every Monday, as well as hosting its Community Day on 14 October.

“Working in partnership with Football NSW coaches, PCYC continues to deliver its mission of supporting young people in need,” he said.

“Our life-changing programs and sport and rec activities get kids active, teach new skills, and young people learn the values of participation, effort and reward.”

To complement the artificial football pitch, the PCYC Auburn Youth hub now features PlayStation 5s, a new Sam Kerr mural and a coaching partnership with the Western Sydney Wanderers to meet participation demands.

Electronic Arts Director Stuart Coleman said football fanatics unable to visit the pitch could check it out in the new EA Sports FC24 video game.

“Partnering with PCYC to provide access to a pitch for the local community in what we hope will inspire the next generation of grassroots players and grow the game in an incredibly exciting time for football in Australia,” he told Build-it.

Formerly the PCYC Auburn Basketball court, the sports facility was rapidly renovated in time for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 conclusion.

Featuring Australian-made SYNLawn Coolplay artificial turf with Coolplus technology to regulate its temperature and provide comfortable playing conditions, the pitch also includes high fencing and wall padding for added safety.

The bright field colours were custom-made to match the video game colour scheme, with elements of the artificial surface, such as Sam Kerr’s name and EA Sports logo, cut by hand.

Matildas’ captain Sam Kerr said she hoped the pitch provided more sporting opportunities in Australia’s football heartland and was happy to be part of “this wonderful initiative to help grow football in Australia, as well as providing young girls further opportunities.”

“It’s an honour to have a pitch inspired by and created in my name,” she said.

EA Sports FC’s official release date was 29 September, 2023.

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.