University of North Carolina

What do the University of Michigan and University of North Carolina have in common? At the time of this post, both schools’ field hockey teams are ranked in the top four in the NCAA, and both play on fields with an ATT Sports-installed E-layer.

In the summer of 2018, the Tar Heels’ field hockey program christened a brand new facility with a fresh Astroturf playing surface. Under the turf is one of our E-layers. It’s the latest in a string of field hockey E-layers ATT Sports has installed for Division I programs. The list also includes Michigan, Providence College, Central Michigan University and others.

What is an E-layer, and why do so many field hockey teams have them under their pitches?

An E-layer is a paved mix of SBR (recycled) black rubber and binder, typically mixed with stone aggregate. There are a few benefits to having an E-layer under your turf, but the biggest are in drainage and fore reduction. The former is the most important for field hockey.

Astroturf is the go-to surface for field hockey because it creates a speedy, uniform roll of the ball, which spends the vast majority of a game on the ground. However, to control that speed and bounce – as well as the sliding of sticks on the surface – field hockey turf fields are watered before play. The constant watering creates a need for consistent drainage, and nothing fits that bill better than an E-layer.