T.O. schools to get grass from match

DON PEAT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:50 PM ET

Some Toronto students will be kicking around on Real Madrid's real turf when they go back to class this fall.

Toronto FC announced yesterday that the sod, under Real's Cristiano Ronaldo talented feet last night, will be torn up and re-laid on the soccer pitches at three Toronto public schools.

One of the conditions of bringing the star-studded Spanish team to BMO Field was laying down real turf for them to play on.

Toronto FC officials said the club invested $250,000 to bring in 10 tractor-trailer loads of the real green stuff. The metre-wide, 30-metre long and 10-cm thick sod took about 24 hours to be rolled out, officials said.

400,000 kilos

It will take about 24 hours to roll the almost 400,000 kilos of grass back up and deliver it to the three schools -- Keele St. Junior Public School, Harbord Collegiate Institute and Morrish Public School.

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Chief Operating Officer Tom Anselmi said he hopes students will think it's "pretty cool" to be playing soccer on BMO Field's grass.

"When we did the deal with Real Madrid, we knew we had to do a temporary installation of turf," Anselmi said. "We had some grass on our hands ... It's kind of a nice little legacy out of it."

Paul Beirne, Toronto FC's senior director of business operations, heralded Toronto District School Board Trustee Shaun Chen for helping secure the donation.

'Meaning for students'

"For me it was a no-brainer," Chen said, describing how he felt when he was offered the sod. "The fact this grass was played on by Toronto FC (and Real) gives it real meaning for the students that is not measurable in dollar amounts."

The Ward 21 trustee, who's rooting for TFC, said the challenge was finding three school fields in need of sod within a month.

Board staff helped select three fields that were up for re-sodding this summer.

"It's an example of the board working with community partners," Chen said.

Toronto FC players will visit one of the schools this fall to officially open the re-topped fields.

don.peat@sunmedia.ca


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