The Irwin A. & Robert D. Goodman Pitch at Reddan Soccer Park in Verona is no longer a plan, an artist's rendering or a construction project.
It's a soccer stadium.
The final inspection of the 99,000-square-foot FieldTurf pitch was Wednesday morning and the first match on the new field was that evening – the Milwaukee Bavarians beat the Madison 56ers 4-1 in an Under-14 boys game that counted in both the Wisconsin Development Academy and NPL Midwest Development League standings.
A few items will be completed in coming weeks and months, such as the installation of a scoreboard, the addition of the Goodman Foundation logo on the turf and nets behind the goals to corral errant shots, but the most important part of the facility was approved during the final walk-through.
The 120x80 playing surface includes approximately 228,000 pounds of fill – the small rubber pellets found in FieldTurf – on top of roughly 420,000 pounds of silica sand. Employees from FieldTurf spent nine days installing the field, which was funded by a $663,000 donation from the Goodman Foundation and a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Soccer Foundation. The surface has an 8-year warranty and likely will last at least 10 years before needing to be replaced.
It was fitting that the 56ers and Bavarians played the first match on the pitch. The 56ers' Under-14 coach is John Reddan – his father is Bill Reddan, for whom the 60-acre park is named. And E.G. Schramka, the executive director and vice president of the Goodman Foundation, played for the Bavarians growing up in the Milwaukee area.
The first high school games at Goodman Pitch will be Friday night, when Verona plays host to DeForest in non-conference play. The junior varsity game is scheduled for 5 p.m., followed by the varsity match at 7 p.m.
Madison Edgewood, which also will play its home games on the field, is scheduled to make its Goodman Pitch debut Sept. 10 against Monona Grove as part of a doubleheader, as Verona faces Janesville Craig at 5 p.m., followed by the Crusaders against the Silver Eagles at 7 p.m.
Construction continues on the UW Health Sports Medicine Pavilion adjacent to the stadium, with the facility expected to be finished in the next few weeks. A grand opening ceremony for the field and pavilion will be held in September.