Construction began rather late in the game — the last week of June to be exact– but sure enough, a newly renovated Bugliari ’52 World Cup Field was ready to be put on display by mid-August.
A complete re-sodding of the pitch extending to the campus’ baseball diamond; an upgraded replacement of the field’s drainage system; an excavation of the scenic hill on the field side opposite the players’ new benches; and, for the first time, spectator seating terraced down the old hill.
Of course there’s new signage and repaved walkways adorning the surrounding area, but the aforementioned renovations are the fundamental upgrades, and were made possible by the financial contribution of a small group of Pingry School alumni who wish to remain anonymous.
The field was originally dedicated in 1994 when it was rebuilt into a world-class facility in conjunction with the Italian National Team so it could train for the World Cup, hosted by the U.S. that summer.
“Over 20 years of wear and tear, we’re just not a pro facility able to maintain it as we’d like,” explained one of Bugliari’s assistant coaches and former player, David Fahey, class of ’99. “The field had gotten to a state where it was not something that we were as proud of as we would have liked to have been.”
And how apropos for the historic field to remain natural grass, bucking the recent trend of artificial surfaces.
“With the proliferation of turf fields everywhere, the fact that we’re remaining grass is a testament to keeping true to the game of soccer,” Pingry’s Director of Athletics, Gerry Vanasse said, “and we’re hoping that schools come visit us and enjoy playing on the natural surface.”
Miller Bugliari, for whom the field is dedicated, and who has coached the boys soccer team at the school for the last 53 seasons, is beyond pleased and grateful for his updated realm.
“We’re most happy with the alumni that helped give us a field, and it’s state of the art,” the legendary coach said.
Fittingly, Bugliari’s boys christened the refurbished pitch with a victory their first time out.
SCT Scouting report
The Somerset County Tournament gets underway with three first-round games on Saturday. Here’s an inside look at each matchup.
15-Manville at 10-North Plainfield: The two clubs met on opening day and the Canucks came away with a 6-0 victory. North Plainfield possesses an excess of speed and a bunch of players with the ability to score. Senior striker Chico Atubi already has 10 goals and six assists. Manville is in rebuilding mode and this with be a tough draw for them.
14-Bound Brook at 11-Immaculata: All six games Bound Brook has played have ironically ended in a shutout – 3 wins and 3 losses. The Crusaders have a superb keeper in Bernal Salazar that can keep them in games, especially this one. The Spartans often have trouble putting the ball in the net if it’s not Max Cortina or Mark Swintek. This one has the makings of a possible upset.
13-Franklin at 12-Ridge: Franklin finally got its first win on Tuesday, a 1-0 blanking of Bridgewater-Raritan. Perhaps that raises the team morale? On the flip side, Ridge can’t seem to get a break and hasn’t won a game all season. This one’s a tossup.
James Reiner, Gill St. Bernard’s: The senior center back is actually so big and strong, that he controls the offense, and is a major reason why Gill is off to a 6-0-1 start. After seeing him run through his club’s defense, North Plainfield coach Chuck Henriques said Reiner is probably the most important player to any team in the Skyland Conference. Reiner has five goals and two assists, including a pair of game-winners.