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Case Study: Specifying 11 Different Flooring Surfaces for Athletic Facility


The COPA (Comprehensive Objective Performance Assessment) Soccer Training Center was designed to analyze athletes from every angle to improve their cognitive, physical and technical abilities. This elite soccer training center, which was built on the grounds of an old newspaper plant, is the latest addition to the Shadelands Sports Mall in Walnut Creek, California. CEO and Developer Mark Hall selected retired soccer player, fitness expert and entertainer Andy McDermott to serve as COPA’s director of culture.

In his role, McDermott was tasked with overseeing many aspects of design and development of this state-of-the-art training center. The facility is the future home to a minor league professional soccer team in development and where many notable professional soccer athletes train. COPA uses data and analytics to take athletes of all ages to the next level. To do this, advanced methods are used, including pressure plates under the flooring to measure power and speed, biomechanical video analysis, dynamic movement skills and other innovative technologies designed to enhance speed and performance.

Retrofitting a multipurpose athletic facility into a building constructed more than four decades ago can be extremely daunting. The design challenges were compounded by the fact that COPA required numerous types of surfaces to support a variety of sports and fitness spaces in the 110,000 square-foot facility. There were 11 different surfaces needed for specification and the facility wanted to limit the number of vendors involved. 

“We considered other flooring companies, but it would have required five or six vendors,” says McDermott. “Having Ecore as a single-source solution allowed for a much smoother construction process.”

Following the recommendation of the Cal-Berkley strength and conditioning coach, McDermott chose Ecore for all surface installations in the training center except for polished concrete, which was preserved from the original building. Each area of the COPA Soccer Training Center had unique requirements in the areas of safety, ergonomics and acoustics.

The Double SpeedCourt provides coaching and training on foundational running and movement techniques. This enhanced training requires a surface that provides comfort for body contact points, like elbows and knees. PlyoTurf offers a durable, textured polyethylene wear layer, fusion bonded to a vulcanized composition rubber-base layer using patented itsTRU Technology, making it ideal for functional fitness environments like the Double SpeedCourt.

Ecore’s TurfX was used in multiple areas of the COPA training center including the COPA Cube. Designed by COPA Innovation Laboratories, this state-of-the-art space assesses a player’s ball control, passing ability and decision-making. TurfX was also specified in the Powergoal, Technique Studios, Mini Cube and COPA Kids Jungle Field.

Widely played in South America and Europe, futsal is gaining popularity in the states. COPA offers members 25,000 square feet of futsal courts. Typically constructed from wood, COPA chose to use the more forgiving Bounce 2 that reduces force reduction by up to 60% for players’ safety and comfort. This surface was also installed in the spin room and retail spaces.

Covering the indoor Turf Arena, A-Turf offers a high pile that is quick and highly playable. This multipurpose field has the softness of grass in an indoor setting. Speed & Agility Turf was installed in the weight room between the circuit and sports performance areas. The durable flooring includes an additional underlayment for extra cushioning to support activities such as sleds, battle ropes, medicine balls, etc.

Used for the COPA’s outdoor track, Surface America EverTop is a wet-poured, one-layer, troweled-on-site rubberized surface system. It provides a high-quality sprinting track with optimum footing and is also ideal for recreation and outdoor sports areas. Specified in the weightlifting area and COPA Kids SpeedZone, Ecore Monster flooring is both cushioning and sound absorbing. It was installed in five lifting rack areas with five lifting inlay platforms that seamlessly sport the COPA logo on the surface.

Ecore Rally was used in the Speed Lab, which was designed to teach and enhance running techniques and movement skills. Also specified in the cardio area and indoor track, Rally is tailored for heavy conditioning to absorb the impact force related to aggressive functional training and provides an ergonomically advanced surface that works in concert with the body.

The COPA shower area required a slip-resistant, waterproof surface. Aqueous checked all the boxes with flooring that is engineered with slip-resistant particles and a raised emboss for added stability. Used in the locker rooms and whirlpool area, Frictional safety flooring provides an enhanced coefficient of friction to prevent falls in traffic areas where slipping may occur.

Within six weeks of opening, COPA enrolled more than 1,000 members and featured visits from USA Women’s Soccer Team standouts Alex Morgan, Julie Ertz, and Allie Long. In addition, the U.S. Men’s National Futsal Team paid a visit for some practice sessions and found the playing surface to be considerably better than the traditional wood flooring they were accustomed to using.

McDermott, who helped lead the project from concept to completion, talked about the challenges he faced while juggling construction schedules with multiple vendors. 

“Rehabbing an old building involved multiple stages of construction, which meant balancing timing and orders,” he says. “Ecore did a great job coordinating and working around a crazy construction schedule to get the job done right the first time.”

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